Day 137: Dying in Christ Jesus (1005-1011)
It’s Day 137!!
DYING IN CHRIST JESUS
There is already a death that we ought to have gone through and we did SACRAMENTALLY
If you have been BAPTIZED then you went through a SACRAMENTAL DEATH
You have been BURIED WITH CHRIST IN BAPTISM
Fr. Mike read a book by Dr. Peter Kreeft “LOVE IS STRONGER THAN DEATH”
The wages of sin is DEATH
Death, in some ways, is NOT NATURAL
The harsh reality of life is that death is part of it
On the other hand, God had NEVER intended us to experience death as we experience it now
Paragraph 1008 says, “Death is a consequence of sin…death entered the world on account of man’s sin. Even though man’s nature is mortal, God had destined him not to die. Death was therefore contrary to the plans of God the Creator and entered the world as a consequence of sin.”
What does this mean for us?
It means death is a PROBLEM
Death is THE ENEMY
Scripture even says that DEATH IS THE ENEMY
We have been taught that death has been redeemed by Jesus and is therefore NOT the enemy
Which makes sense AFTER JESUS
Paragraph 1009 says, “Death is transformed by Christ.”
For us to TRULY understand the greatness of what Jesus has done for us we first have to recognize that DEATH IS THE ENEMY IN SO MANY WAYS
Jesus Christ has CONQUERED this enemy
The last enemy to be destroyed is death
THE MEANING OF CHRISTIAN DEATH
We have to appreciate that reality so that we can appreciate what Jesus has done for us
Because of what Jesus has done for us, Christian death now has a POSITIVE MEANING
We have to fight for the more negative meaning so we can more fully appreciate the positive meaning
St. Paul says in Paragraph 1010, “‘For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’”
Hopefully we can affirm both things today
Yes, death is the enemy
Christ has conquered death so that for me to live is Christ, and death is now gain
So let’s pray!!
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven, in Jesus name we approach you. In the Power of the Holy Spirit that you have poured out upon us, we have been made into your sons and daughters and our mortal bodies have been transformed. They will be transformed even more fully to be like your immortal Body. But right now, we walk amid the thorns and thistles of this life. Right now we walk amid the sufferings and sorrows of this world. And right now we know that we will face death. We will face that moment when we give up our last breath, our heart beats for that last time, and our body and soul will be separated. God, in this moment prepare our hearts for that. Give us courage in the hour of our death. Send your angels and saints. May Mary pray for us at the hour of our death. And Lord, may you meet us at the hour of our death because yes death is the enemy. You did not make death nor do you rejoice in the destruction of the living. But your Son has transformed death and given us new life. And so we ask you please, at the hour of our death give us courage. In the hour of our death give us grace. In the hour of our death take us to yourself. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen”
So there we have it!!
St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Theresa of Avila, and St. Thérèse of Lisieux have some inspiring quotes today
OH MY GOSH!!
God has TRANSFORMED death
Paragraph 1005 says, “To rise with Christ, we must die with Christ…”
That is just what HAS to happen
Death is NECESSARY
Not only because it’s a necessary part of biological living
In order to get to Jesus, we have to pass through this transition called death
There is so much about this that is mysterious
Paragraph 1006 says, “‘It is in regard to death that man’s condition is most shrouded in doubt.’”
It is a journey that EVERY ONE OF US has to make and in some ways, ALONE
You might die surrounded by family and friends
It is one of those journeys that we have to make ON OUR OWN
At some point we take that last breath
At some point our heart stops beating
At some point our soul leaves our body
We are LEAVING
Many of us have experienced the death of people that we loved and lived for and that have loved YOU
Maybe you were able to be there in that moment where they breathed their last
IT IS SO MYSTERIOUS!!
IT IS SO UNKNOWN!!
Paragraph 1006 continues, “In a sense bodily death is natural, but for faith it is in fact ‘the wages of sin.’”
If we have a hard, sober look at reality, death is very normal and very natural
Death is a CONSEQUENCE of sin
For those who die in Christ’s Grace, it is a PARTICIPATION in the Death of the Lord so that we can also SHARE IN HIS RESURRECTION
So death is the end of earthly life
Death gives URGENCY to our lives
We are not going to live forever
Hopefully that makes us appreciate what we have and what we have been given
Fr. Mike loves living in Northern Minnesota because it has the changing of seasons
IT IS SO POWERFUL
He used to envy those who lived in the south because they always get warm weather
When the sun comes out in Northern Minnesota, everyone is outside
People are wearing t shirts and shorts in 40 degree weather (FARENHEIT)
That’s how it is when it comes to work as well
The weather is nice TODAY so we need to act TODAY
The weather is going to be BAD after this
So it’s like a mini-death as we go through the cycle of the seasons
Death gives an URGENCY to our lives
Paragraph 1007 says, “...remembering our mortality helps us realize that we have only a limited time in which to bring our lives to fulfillment…”
Death is a consequence of sin and the last enemy to be destroyed is death
Paragraph 1009 says, “Death is transformed by Christ. Jesus, the Son of God, also himself suffered the death that is part of the human condition. Yet, despite his anguish as he faced death, he accepted it in an act of complete and free submission to his Father’s will. The obedience of Jesus has transformed the curse of death into a blessing.”
This is how you and I are called to face death
When we face our own death we are called to ACCEPT IT in an act of COMPLETE AND FREE SUBMISSION TO THE FATHER’S WILL
How do we prepare for death?
One way is by FASTING
Letting go of things that we are clinging to
Not just food
But attachments that we have in our lives
At the end of our lives we have to let go of EVERYTHING
So we can PRACTICE LETTING GO through fasting on a regular basis
Do I really need this thing?
So I let it go
We practice for death by GOING TO SLEEP
Climbing into bed in SILENCE and LYING DOWN is a practice for death
The day will come when I don’t have a choice and I will be lying in my bed and I will have to enter into the silence
Because Christ has transformed this in an act of COMPLETE AND FREE SUBMISSION to His Father’s Will
Because of Jesus Christian death has a POSITIVE MEANING
TO LIVE IS CHRIST AND TO DIE IS GAIN!!
If we DIE with Jesus we will also LIVE with Jesus
We will have HOPE
St. Ignatius of Antioch says in Paragraph 1010, “It is better for me to die in Christ Jesus than to reign over the ends of the earth…”
We KNOW this
We KNOW that Jesus Christ has TRANSFORMED death for us
In death God calls us to Himself
He doesn’t forget us in death
We don't enter into oblivion in death
We are called from this world TO THE LORD HIMSELF
That is one of the reasons why we are called to look at death IN A NEW WAY
NOT AS THE ENEMY
NOT EVEN AS A DOOR WE HAVE TO GO THROUGH
Death is a MOTHER in some ways
Death is a LOVER that brings us to the ONE THAT WE LOVE
We can’t just RESIGN OURSELVES to death
We want to actually LONG FOR THE LORD
Fr. Mike is praying that we all have this LONGING FOR THE LORD
NOT a hatred for life
But a LONGING FOR JESUS so much that we can’t wait to die
Not hastening our death
But longing for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit so fully that we cannot wait for the moment
St. Theresa of Avila says in Paragraph 1011, “I want to see God and, in order to see him, I must die.”
IT IS SO CLEAR!!
IT IS SO TRUE!!
WE WANT TO SEE GOD TOO!
IN ORDER TO SEE GOD WE MUST DIE IN HIS GRACE!!
WE HAVE TO REMAIN FAITHFUL!!
We are going to mess up, fall, and stumble
THE LORD IS FAITHFUL!!
He ALWAYS takes us back when we are willing to LET HIM TAKE US BACK
So the invitation is to PRACTICE DYING
Practice seeing death NOT as the enemy
Practice seeing death as the WAY IN WHICH WE WILL GET TO SEE GOD
Death can be scary
Death can be heartbreaking
Death can lead us into grief
Death can also lead us into HOPE
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!