A friend of a friend on facebook posted a note a day or two ago that he had found something (at least potentially) seriously wrong with himself, and ended ‘Argh, I don’t wanna die !’
My friend’s perfectly sensible comment was ‘Death is an inevitability... but not, I hope, from this condition nor imminently’ – a wish which I am sure we would all share, especially when, as in this case, the person is young.
At the same time, it struck me as I wrote my post yesterday that this exchange was a manifestation of something which must strike many people as confusing : Catholics say that ‘here we have no abiding city; our home is in heaven’, and yet we seem just as reluctant as anyone else to die – yet logically, one would think, we should have no such reluctance, as our death will only be going home to God, to be reunited with Him for ever (DV) in heaven.
I suppose, really, it’s a bit like when we were children, and our mothers called us to stop playing and come in, because it was time for bed / supper / whatever. We never wanted to, however much we might also in theory have wanted whatever it was we were going to get by stopping playing : and that is a bit like our position on earth. This life is great fun, but ultimately it’s not what it’s all about, and deep down we have to realize that.
Let me make it plain; I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to die – I’m certainly not aching to do so, myself : and yet I want to try not to be afraid of death; to try to welcome the idea of it; and to try to prepare for it, spiritually if not (perhaps) very practically.
I’ve mentioned S. Joseph Cafasso before; and one of his practices was to make a very thorough spiritual preparation for death once a month – mainly, of course, in case when death came to him he was not able to make those acts of will himself, so that he had habitual dispositions on which to rely; but at the same time also because he recognized that for a Christian an acceptance not only of the inevitability, but also of the (ultimate) desirability, of death was something to be encouraged.
I hope and pray that my friend’s friend in fact has nothing seriously wrong with him, and that he has many more years left to enjoy the life which God has given him before he finally goes home : but I also pray, earnestly, that he, and all of us, may gain a great acceptance of God’s will in this, and come to welcome His call for us to go home, whenever it may come.