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Understanding Our Catholic Faith

What It Means to Pray “Thy Kingdom Come”: The Last Things

The Last Things



"I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die."
John 11:25-26

Death and Victory

Jesus has conquered death; this is the saving word that the Church proclaims through the last rites to those who are dying. The Resurrection of Jesus did not result in the abolition of physical death for humans, but it transformed physical death into a new life with God for all eternity. In Baptism, a Christian enters a lifelong process of dying with Christ in order to share in the Lord's risen life. With death, this process reaches completion. The moment of physical death becomes the occasion for the believer's final and decisive act of faith. By undergoing physical death with Christ, the Christian is united with him forever.

The Final Journey

The Church accompanies the dying Christian as he or she crosses the threshold from this life to the next. The Sacrament of Reconciliation offers the dying person a final chance to seek forgiveness of sins. The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick strengthens him or her for the final journey. The viaticum, or Communion for the dying, is food for the journey to immortality.

Through the Order of Christian Funerals, the Church reiterates the message of eternal life to those whom the deceased leaves behind. In the funeral Mass, the Church commits the soul of the deceased to God, and in the graveside rites, the Church surrenders the body to the earth, to await resurrection into glory.

Reflect

  • How does the fact that you are going to die affect you?
  • What would you most like people to say about you when you die?
  • What can you do each day to prepare yourself for your own journey through death?

Prayer

God of compassion and mercy, I thank you for the gift of my life and pray for the grace to live it fully, doing your will. Amen. 

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