Friday, July 29, 2005
Waiting for What Might Be
In an article I'd recently read, a man talks about his elderly mother and how they agreed that she would be euthanized at some stage. His mother had said that she wished she had total control over when she would go, as at a flick of a button, so that she wouldn't have to worry about what might be. It is the uncertainty of death that causes mental anguish towards the end. Imagine how it must be if everyone goest through life, fulfilled and happy, healthy and actually arriving safely at a ripe old age just prior to dying of natural causes. There are two schools of thought I'd like to point out about death: it is like an old friend that one meets in the end, or it is an enemy that one struggles against until the end. The first concept suffers from one problem: if death is a friend, then there is no tragedy in dying, regardless of circumstances. Then you might find untimely deaths for those who have lost the will to live for whatever reason, without making any attempt at regaining the will to live instead. In the second perspective of death as an enemy, the problem lies in anxiety when death is possible or imminent. However, there is an antidote to such an anxiety: the hope of eternal life. Perhaps that is another way to look at our mission to evangelize. Christ has conquered death, which, due to our fallen nature, we are bound to meet at the end of our days. On the other hand, those who have already died to that fallen nature in baptism need no longer fear the end of our mortal days because there is no second death. Not the same death as we would have met anyway because our lot is the resurrection of the saints. Death remains our enemy but we already know that we are not victims of an uncertain fate after death because Christ has conquered it for us. So Christ bringing the certain hope of the resurrection is the antidote to the anxiety of meeting death as an enemy. We need to bring this hope to the elderly and the dying because that alone will calm their fears. Instead of rushing towards death in capitulation, they will walk calmly and leisurely, living their life to the fullest, knowing that when they actually have to meet death, they can stare it down and walk past it towards the light of eternity in Heaven.