Week of the Darkness versus the Light: Death

In honor of this week of Halloween, and remembering the departed, I will post about themes that deal with the battle of darkness versus light.  This post’s theme: death.

What I always find deeply ironic is how many Christians I know are afraid of death, or feel sorry for someone who has died.  Yet, there is a firm belief in Heaven.  So what gives?

Photo Credit: Wallpaper 4 God

There is a deep attachment to our world that is not conducive to what Christians have faith in.  Why would any Christian be worried about another Christian who has died?  The only good reason to be worried is the answer to this question:  will a person be granted access to Heaven, or has the person done unspeakable things and will go to hell for it?  This question is reason enough for worry, nonetheless, I don’t run into people who are concerned with it.  The concern about the dead tends to be placed about the tragedy over someone not living any longer, or the fact that we have to now live without the person.

These thoughts are not Christian.  What is Christian is the certitude that there is an afterlife.  It is Christian to hope that God’s mercy is deeper than anything we can imagine, and therefore, a soul does have a real chance of getting into heaven.  To help that soul reach it’s destination, we pray for the soul.

I am not arguing against sorrow and mourning.  In fact, I have seen how people have not properly recognized the importance of grieving.  I have noticed when people are not sympathetic enough.  They don’t offer consolation, but instead, empty statements.  “It’s okay, it was her time to go.”  “God works in mysterious ways.”  “Don’t cry, everything will be ok.”  Statements are not what people need in their time of distress.  Presence, listening, and crying along with someone are some of the supports people need.

This simple reflection on death is more about recognizing how we understand it when we are not in distress.  Why would a Christian think it is sad for someone to pass on into the afterlife?  Is not the Christian message to the world that it is not trapped in a meaningless life cycle, but that we are given an opportunity to enter the Kingdom of Heaven through Christ?

Since there is an afterlife, Catholic theology promotes praying for those that have passed on as well as asking those who might be or certainly are in Heaven for help.  That only makes sense if we can communicate with the dead.  No, you don’t need to have supernatural powers or bust out magic to start talking to the dead.  Prayer is already that special way to connect with those that have transitioned from this physical reality to the spiritual.  It is that simple.  Just don’t believe your going to get any concrete communication back…after all, it would freak you out.

St. Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians, “O Death, where is your sting?”(1Cor 15:55)  In the letter to the Romans, he goes on to further explain this crucial soteriology (theory of salvation; Rom 6).  Christians do not need to fear death or be saddened by it.  It’s natural to feel that way, but alas, there is much to hope for!

Go, and celebrate with others this Good News: humanity no longer is a victim of death; death has been conquered, and we have the opportunity to make it a transitional event versus a final event of our life.

God our Father,
Your power brings us to birth,
Your providence guides our lives,
and by Your command we return to dust.

Lord, those who die still live in Your presence,
their lives change but do not end.
I pray in hope for my family,
relatives and friends,
and for all the dead known to You alone.

In company with Christ,
Who died and now lives,
may they rejoice in Your kingdom,
where all our tears are wiped away.
Unite us together again in one family,
to sing Your praise forever and ever.

Amen.

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3 thoughts on “Week of the Darkness versus the Light: Death

  1. Sophie Marquez Jr.

    Dear Author:
    You ask “why would a christian think it is sad for someone tp pass on into the afterlife?
    When some passes onto the afterlife, those that remain here on earth are affected by it and are sadden for many reasons. Its possible that the person was taken home by surprise, a heart attack, accident, or other way. Those remaining will miss the person, those remaining may have not been able to reconcile a wrong that needed to be made right, those remaining may not know if that person truley believed and was baptised, those remaining may have loved that person intensley and when they are gone, (even knowing they went to heaven) will be sadden because it is the way that we are taught. We are not taught to be happy, and to celebrate, on the contrary, we are taught to mourn, be sad, and cry. When Jesus was taken from the cross and buried, did the Mary’s not weep, as well as others? Even in todays world, people still weep over his sacrifice. People still weep over his death and we know he is in heaven.
    You state,… the tragedy over someone not living any longer, or the fact that we have to now live without the person. These thoughts are not christian. These thoughts and many others are christian, they are humanistic. We know that God’s mercy IS deeper than anything that we can imagine, therefore we know that our God, a LOVING and MERCIFUL God, will welcome our departed ones into his kingdom.

    Reply
    1. Gilbert Marquez Jr. Post author

      You make a good point in respect that your reply shows I wasn’t completely clear about my position on death. The key point is that when those who are grieving can come to a place and not grieve with such a depth, ONLY THEN can a person start being hopeful and embrace the Christian message of redemption. I tried to say this right before the question you quoted. I wrote : “This simple reflection on death is more about recognizing how we understand it when we are not in distress.”

      The person has to not be in distress. And if they are in distress after what seems to be a longer than usual time of grieving, then that person does need to reach out to counseling. I know there are deaths that cause trauma. Those deaths need to be professionally dealt with. I speaking more about those deaths that occur quite naturally, not surprisingly, and the type that would not normally cause a deep and long period of distress. These deaths need to be contemplated on through a Christian lens, and we’ll come to understand that there is much to hope for.

      I know that sadness for the loss of a loved one doesn’t ever go away. But with the proper amount of healing and a good amount of healthy reflection, I storngly believe that a Christian can be more hopeful than not.

      Last of all, I was never against anyone mourning. As I posted: “I am not arguing against sorrow and mourning. In fact, I have seen how people have not properly recognized the importance of grieving. I have noticed when people are not sympathetic enough. They don’t offer consolation, but instead, empty statements. “It’s okay, it was her time to go.” “God works in mysterious ways.” “Don’t cry, everything will be ok.” Statements are not what people need in their time of distress. Presence, listening, and crying along with someone are some of the supports people need.”

      Reply

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