We have good reason to face death with courage and joy because: (1) Christ’s Resurrection has conquered death; (2) in the risen Christ we live, die, and shall live again; and (3) we look forward to our homecoming with God our loving Father.
1. We have good reason to face death with courage and joy because Christ’s Resurrection has conquered death.
Death is the separation of body and soul. It is the passage of the soul over the threshold between earthly life and the life beyond. Though the soul continues to exist, it is disturbed by the dissolution of the body, for the soul loses the instrument through which it has acted.
Christ gave death, which was introduced after Adam’s fall, a new significance. He changed it into an event that brings Salvation. By becoming man and by taking death upon Himself, as mankind’s representative, Jesus gave Himself as a perfect sacrifice to the Heavenly Father. He expiated, or made satisfaction for, Adam’s surrender to Satan, the effects of which passed on to all mankind. From the time of the Crucifixion, man has been able to face death with the expectation of obtaining everlasting life in God’s Kingdom.
2. We have good reason to face death with courage and joy because in the risen Christ we live, die, and shall live again.
The Resurrection of Jesus is the most important testimony of Sacred Scripture to our future resurrection in the body. Through Jesus’ merits, God has set up a new order, according to which Jesus is the beginning of our resurrection.
St. Paul said: “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:21–23). As the second Adam, Who gives new life to all things, Christ achieves His final victory over Satan, the lord of the earth, who gained dominion over all mankind by the fall of the first Adam.
3. We have good reason to face death with courage and joy because we look forward to our homecoming with God our loving Father.
As Catholics, we believe that the just, who have been made perfect through death and Purgatory, are now in Heaven, though they have not yet risen in the body, nor undergone the final judgment.
Heaven is the fullness of the Kingdom of God. It would be insufficient to consider Heaven only as the place or state of reward from the standpoint of individual happiness. In fact, it is primarily a place and form of the manifestation of God’s glory. Each of us is called to glorify God in Heaven in a perfect manner. The essential element in this adoration and honor is our love and self-surrender to Him.
God is the highest good Whom we not only shall know and love, but also live within, in a mysterious sharing of His life. This life in God is purest joy, everlasting rest, fullest attainment, and quiet happiness. We look forward to this state of perfection, the greatest experience of our whole lives. It surpasses any experience we may have on this earth. So, we should face death with courage and joy, as we await our homecoming with God our loving Father.