5.16 How do Christians prepare for death?
Although we know that we shall die one day, the prospect of our death can be very scary. In many modern societies, death has been pushed out of the sphere of daily life. This makes the confrontation even worse when suddenly we have to face death, our own or that of someone we love. It also makes that death can find us utterly unprepared. For many reasons it is good to be prepared for the moment of our death. Although statistically we may have years of earthly life ahead, disaster can strike at any moment. What a relief is it then to know that Jesus came to tell us: “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live” (John 11:25).
Five ways to prepare for death
1. Face the reality that you will die, but do so with great hope (Rom 5:5): Jesus promises a better life is yet to come. No need to cling on to life unrealistically.
2. Live every day as if it could be your last. This is not a morbid life style, but a great help in choosing important things like love and goodness, rather than more superficial or selfish things. It helps you live more joyful and thankful, enjoying thoroughly the life received from God.
3. Make God part of your daily life: pray regularly, ask his help, thank him, ask his forgiveness. Return often to the sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation – and Anointing of the Sick if necessary.
4. In the hour of your death, surrender yourself to God: ask for the sacraments and the prayer of those who are near, and ask the saints to pray for you.
5. Do not be afraid: Jesus is with you every step of the way, and God’s mercy is greater than you can imagine. Your loved ones will stay behind, but Jesus will accompany you even beyond the threshold of death, where the Father is waiting for you.