When friends draw close to death, a certain intensity of life presents itself. This is true in Christian death. It is meant to be a sacrificial offering of oneself to God if we give it to Jesus with the help of his mystical Body, the Church. Faith in Christ Jesus opens up this possibility. A recent visit to see a friend helped me remember that Christ's sacrifice on the Cross allows dying Christians to share in his work of redemption even to the point that their very death releases anew the power of God's love in the world.
For the Christian, as one's own sacrifice is united to the sacrifice of Christ, death becomes the supreme moment of life, one's finest hour, in which a man most fully becomes who he is. Indeed, it is only by giving ourselves in love that the truth of who we are is realized. When death becomes an offering of oneself to God in love, the majestic self-donation that makes man in the image and likeness of God attains its most magnificent moment.
Mystery - Secret - Body - Burden - Pain
This is a hidden mystery, a great secret disguised in suffering. When the body is exhausted under a burden of pain, the lips unable to form words, and the mind so engulfed in suffering that all awareness of everything and everyone one is lost, faith's greatest prayer is unknown to all but God. It's power is nonetheless unleashed for the life of the world even as every other earthly sign of life falls under mortality's shadow. Such a prayerful death opens itself to the most profound union with God until, in final agony, the last breath becomes one's greatest act of adoration.
The man I visited is a priest and long time friend in Colorado. Msgr. Michael Glenn and I studied together in...
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