My previous post was an introduction to my series on the Four Last Things.
It’s not essential for you to read that post before this one. However, I do encourage you to view each post of this series in chronological order because it will give you the full picture and allow you to get the most out of it.
The first topic we’ll explore is death.
No matter what people may believe, every human being will experience death and their soul will continue to exist for eternity.
No matter what we acquire in this life — money, fame, success, material goods — we can’t take it with us when we die.
Death is something many fear and/or avoid talking about.
One who knows what to expect at death and is trying to prepare for it has nothing to fear!
The Catholic Church provides the truth and answers the fundamental questions about life, and death.
First, I’ll provide an introduction by sharing excerpts of Catholic teaching.
Then, I’ll provide a thorough explanation by sharing a video from Fr. Chad Ripperger.
Death is the separation of man’s mortal body and immortal soul. It comes to all men as a result of original sin. It is a temporary state, for at the end of the world, all men shall rise again to be judged by Christ. Thus the whole man, body and soul, will be rewarded for the good or evil that he has done, body and soul, in this life.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
362 The human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual. The biblical account expresses this reality in symbolic language when it affirms that “then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Man, whole and entire, is therefore willed by God.
363 In Sacred Scripture the term “soul” often refers to human life or the entire human person. But “soul” also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him, that by which he is most especially in God’s image: “soul” signifies the spiritual principle in man.
364 The human body shares in the dignity of “the image of God”: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit:
Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day.
365 The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the “form” of the body: i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.
366 The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God – it is not “produced” by the parents – and also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection.
1020 The Christian who unites his own death to that of Jesus views it as a step towards him and an entrance into everlasting life. When the Church for the last time speaks Christ’s words of pardon and absolution over the dying Christian, seals him for the last time with a strengthening anointing, and gives him Christ in viaticum as nourishment for the journey, she speaks with gentle assurance:
Go forth, Christian soul, from this world
in the name of God the almighty Father,
who created you,
in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God,
who suffered for you,
in the name of the Holy Spirit,
who was poured out upon you.
Go forth, faithful Christian!
May you live in peace this day,
may your home be with God in Zion,
with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
with Joseph, and all the angels and saints. . . .
May you return to [your Creator]
who formed you from the dust of the earth.
May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints
come to meet you as you go forth from this life. . . .
May you see your Redeemer face to face.