Monday, November 24, 2008

Death and Dying

The Church marks the beginning of November with two great feasts: All Saints and All Souls. And then, almost without fail, it seems a lot of good people pass away. So far this month in my small circle of friends and acquaintances, two good priests, a nun, and a great pro-lifer have all left this world. This morning, I learned of the death of another good woman who was a fixture at daily Mass at my church for as long as I can remember. All of these people, I think I can say with confidence, were ready to meet the Lord. But we do miss them.

Death is such a mystery. It should really be something we think of daily and prepare for on a regular basis. This is one of the things I connect to the most with Pier Giorgio. In his book of letters (which is still unavailable in English but will hopefully get published soon), he wrote a beautiful reflection on death to his good friend Antonio Villani. I think it is worth a read or two and so I am providing the following excerpt for you. It was written on July 19, 1923, when Pier Giorgio was just 22 years old.

"...and yet I have sometimes been ambitious. And for what? Just for death, this great mystery, the only just one which spares no one, which will dissolve this body of mine and in a short time will turn it into dust. But beyond the material body there is the soul to which we must dedicate all our energy, so that it can present itself before the Supreme Tribunal without fault or at least with little faults, so that after having served some years in purgatory it will be able to go up to Eternal peace. But how does one prepare oneself for the great Transition and when? Since one does not know when Death will come to take him away, it is very prudent to prepare oneself every day as if one is going to die that same day; and so from now on I will try to make every day a little preparation for death, so that I shouldn’t find myself unprepared at the point of death and have to regret the beautiful years of youth, wasted from the spiritual side."

We would do well, I think, to follow Pier Giorgio's example and make each day a little preparation for death. It is more than just living in the present moment. It is considering the future that awaits us all.

And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, now rest in peace.

1 comment:

sofia said...

Happy Valantine's Day Pier Giorgio my dear Friend in heaven