I was once in a group of people, young and old, after the Eucharistic Celebration in one of the suburbs in the Philippines. There was an old man sitting alone watching all the people talking with each other laughing and sharing life experiences. I approached him and said, “Hi! How are you?” I introduced myself and sat beside him. We shared many things about life, and one of the sharings was about death. I asked him what his impressions were about death and he said, “I am afraid to die.” I asked him why and he answered, “I do not know. I live with my family and we are happy living altogether – that makes me afraid to leave them.” I decided to do a little Catechism.
I told the old man that there is life after death. When a person dies, he or she will no longer experience hardship nor sadness but be full of life and joyful in being with the Lord in heaven. We will see Jesus Christ face-to-face and experience no more death but eternal life. I smiled at him and said, “Are you still afraid to die?” He replied, “No, I am no longer afraid of death and I thank you for making me aware about the reality of death.” I smiled and thanked him for the wonderful sharing we had.
Most people are afraid of death for many reasons. When I was younger, I was also scared of death as I did not yet know about life after death – life eternal. Now that I am grown up, my beliefs and my faith have deepened so that I have no need to fear facing the reality of dying. Whether we like it or not, one day we will die, leaving our life on earth and going onto a journey towards eternal life.
I am grateful for the awareness and the faith I have which helps me now to encourage those who are advanced in age, the terminally ill, those who are lonely and afraid of death. We are pilgrims in this world and our destiny is heaven – an eternal dwelling and happiness with our heavenly Father.
We commemorate All Souls’ Day today, 2 November. Let us make the month of November a time to pray for all of our loved ones who went ahead of us and are now rejoicing and seeing the face of God.
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