256. It consoles us to know that those who die do not completely pass away, and faith assures us that the risen Lord will never abandon us. Thus we can “prevent death from poisoning life, from rendering vain our love, from pushing us into the darkest chasm”.(Catechesis (17 June 2015)) The Bible tells us that God created us out of love and made us in such a way that our life does not end with death (cf. Wis 3:2-3). Saint Paul speaks to us of an encounter with Christ immediately after death: “My desire is to depart and be with Christ” (Phil 1:23). With Christ, after death, there awaits us “what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9). The Preface of the Liturgy of the Dead puts it nicely: “Although the certainty of death saddens us, we are consoled by the promise of future immortality. For the life of those who believe in you, Lord, is not ended but changed”. Indeed, “our loved ones are not lost in the shades of nothingness; hope assures us that they are in the good strong hands of God”.(Ibid.)
We touched on this point in yesterday’s post, but maybe it deserves emphasis: I don’t find the neo-Catholic indulgence for hammering away at purgatory and maybe-not-heaven to be terribly helpful. Good wishes for a truly bad person may well be insufficient for an eternal determination. I think I’d wait for the mourner to ask the question. Meanwhile, hope is not a bad quality to cultivate. And for the living, an invitation to virtue via a compassionate, listening accompaniment will do the most good where good can yet be done. The bottom line is that beyond death, Christ has the affairs of people in his control. No human being, not even a respected cleric, has any say otherwise.
Remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.