Amoris Laetitia 256: Hope For The Dead

amoris laetitia memeMore quotations from a June 2015 address of Pope Francis, backed up with a few thoughts from the Bible and the liturgy:

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.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Amoris Laetitia 256: Hope For The Dead

  1. Devin Rice says:

    The best homily given for a funeral in recent memory was at Justice Scalia’s service that was delivered by his son. Perhaps it contained too much Catholic insider baseball for a normal parish (or the national gathering at which it was delivered), but the overall template is universal. A focus always on Jesus Christ. A focus on the blessings of the past, petition for continued mercy on behalf the deceased and those that morn and hope for things to come.

    • Todd says:

      It’s a good homily, and inviting, though I didn’t see all that much insider baseball. But it was also like many of the homilies I’ve heard over the years: touching on the life of the deceased in illustrative and relevant ways, yet keeping the focus on God. For all the criticism on eulogizing the dead, many, many priests all over the world utilize their gifts, training, and sense of liturgy and pastoral care to craft homilies of this caliber.

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