LIBERA ME, Domine, Iesu Christe, ab omnibus iniquitatis meis et universis malis,
fac me tuis semper inhærere mandatis et a te numquam separari permittas. Amen.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Going Home

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.


  1. I do hope, and will pray, that the young man recovers his health. Didn't Our Lord Himself weep over the death of His friend, before calling him back to life?

    "When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her, also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit, and was troubled, and said, 'Where have you laid him?' They said, 'Lord, Come and see.' Jesus wept. And so the Jews were saying, 'Behold, how He loved Him!" (John 11:33-36).

    Jesus is not unfamiliar with this mortal/human sense of loss, so we must also accept it, as part of our life on this earth, but as you say, this mourning and sense of loss will be eventually swallowed up, in His victory.

    "Jesus said to her, 'Did I not say to you, if you believe you will see the glory of God?' And so, they removed the stone. And Jesus raised up His eyes, and said, 'Father, I thank Thee that Thou heardest Me. And I knew that Thou hearest Me always; but because of the people standing around I said it, that they may believe that Thou didst send Me.' And when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come forth.' He who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings..." (John 11:40-44).

  2. May I add my prayers for your friend’s friend?

    Our guide here, perhaps, is Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Not my will, but your will be done”.

    St. Thomas (ST III q18 a5) points this out as an example where Christ’s natural will prior to deliberation is not conformed to the will of God. Christ’s natural will, naturally(!), resists the suffering and death that is His destiny, as do our natural wills resist our suffering and death even though they are the gateway to our supernatural destiny.

    Our natural wills co-exist conditionally and imperfectly with our deliberated wills, but we have the supernatural virtue of hope for our ultimate end and Christ's example in the Garden to guide and strengthen our deliberated wills.

    I'm glad to say that a Doctor friend tells me that the symptom the young man had, though alarming, is highly unlikely to indicate anything fatally wrong; for which much thanks to God.
    That said, I'm sure he will be grateful for your prayers; both for his health, and his acceptance - as Gregory points out - that God's will be done.