planning to die
"By manfully giving up my life now, I will prove myself worthy of my old age, and I will leave to the young a noble example of how to die willingly and generously for the revered and holy laws." —2 Maccabees 6:27-28
Today it is fashionable to plan ahead for old age and death. Many have already bought their burial plots, prearranged their funerals, and made their wills. The Lord wants us to plan ahead for old age and death. However, He's not so concerned about the economic and medical plans as He is about the spiritual ones.
Most people plan to live a long time and die painlessly surrounded by the comforts of home. However, it doesn't matter how long we live as much as for Whom we live, that is, for the Lord. It doesn't matter if we die at home, in a nursing home, or even on the street, as long as we die in the Lord (see 1 Thes 4:16). Whether or not we are in pain isn't the most important aspect of our death. For instance, Eleazar suffered terrible pain, being tortured, scourged, and beaten to death. Nonetheless, Eleazar's death was a "happy death" pleasing to the Lord because he left "in his death a model of courage and an unforgettable example of virtue not only for the young but for the whole nation" (2 Mc 6:31).
Plan to live your life and your old age in the Lord, to suffer and die in the Lord. Plan to use your death as a forum for proclaiming Jesus as the Lord of life and the Resurrection from the dead.
Prayer: Father, may my death lead hundreds, even thousands, to give their lives to Jesus.
Promise: "Today salvation has come to this house." —Lk 19:9
Praise: St. Elizabeth never knew old age, in that she died caring for the sick at age 24. While queen of Hungary, she built a hospital at the foot of her castle.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape on Developing a Deep Personal Relationship with Jesus on audio AV 52-1 or video V-52.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 3, 2009
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