The Mystery of Death

From the pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world of the Second Vatican Council (Gaudium et spes)
The Mystery of Death

In the face of death the enigma of human existence reaches its climax. Man is not only the victim of pain and the progressive deterioration of his body; he is also, and more deeply, tormented by the fear of final extinction. But the instinctive judgment of his heart is right when he shrinks from, and rejects, the idea of a total collapse and definitive end of his own person. He carries within him the seed of eternity, which cannot be reduced to matter alone, and so he rebels against death. All efforts of technology, however useful they may be, cannot calm his anxieties; the biological extension of his life-span cannot satisfy the desire inescapably present in his heart for a life beyond this life.

Imagination is completely helpless when confronted with death. Yet the Church, instructed by divine revelation, affirms that man has been created by God for a destiny of happiness beyond the reach of earthly trials. Moreover, the Christian faith teaches that bodily death, to which man would not have been subjected if he had not sinned, ywill be conquered; the almighty and merciful Savior will restore man to the wholeness that he had lost through his own fault. God has called man, and still calls him, to be united in his whole being in perpetual communion with himself in the immortality of the divine life. This victory has been gained for us by the risen Christ, who by his own death has freed man from death.
Faith, presented with solid arguments, offers every thinking person the answer to his questionings concerning his future destiny. At the same time, it enables him to be one in Christ with his loved ones who have been taken from him by death and gives him hope that they have entered into true life with God.

Certainly, the Christian is faced with the necessity, and the duty, of fighting against evil through many trials, and of undergoing death. But by entering into the paschal mystery and being made like Christ in death, he will look forward, strong in hope, to the resurrection.

This is true not only of Christians but also of all men of good will in whose heart grace is invisibly at work. Since Christ died for all men, and the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, that is, a divine vocation, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being united with this paschal mystery in a way known only to God.
Such is the great mystery of man, enlightening believers through the Christian revelation. Through Christ and in Christ light is thrown on the enigma of pain and death which overwhelms us without his Gospel to teach us. Christ has risen, destroying death by his own death; he has given us the free gift of life so that as sons in the Son we may cry out in the Spirit, saying: Abba, Father!

Sent from my iPod

Today the Catholic Church Honors Paul Miki and His Companions.

Today the Catholic Church honors Paul Miki and his companions.

From an account of the martyrdom of Saint Paul Miki and his
companions, by a contemporary writer.
(Cap. 14, 109-110: Acta Sanctorum Febr. 1, 769)
You shall be my witnesses

The crosses were set in place. Father Pasio and Father Rodriguez took turns encouraging the victims. Their steadfast behavior was wonderful to see. The Father Bursar stood motionless, his eyes turned heavenward. Brother Martin gave thanks to Gods goodness by singing psalms. Again and again he repeated: Into your hands, Lord, I entrust my life. Brother Francis Branco also thanked God in a loud voice. Brother Gonsalvo in a very loud voice kept saying the Our Father and Hail Mary.

Our brother, Paul Miki, saw himself standing now in the noblest pulpit he had ever filled. To his congregation he began by proclaiming himself a Japanese and a Jesuit. He was dying for the Gospel he preached. He gave thanks to God for this wonderful blessing and he ended his sermon with these words: As I come to this supreme moment of my life, I am sure none of you would suppose I want to deceive you. And so I tell you plainly: there is no way to be saved except the Christian way. My religion teaches me to pardon my enemies and all who have offended me. I do gladly pardon the Emperor and all who have sought my death. I beg them to seek baptism and be Christians themselves.

Then he looked at his comrades and began to encourage them in their final struggle. Joy glowed in all their faces, and in Louis most of all. When a Christian in the crowd cried out to him that he would soon be in heaven, his hands, his whole body strained upward with such joy that every eye was fixed on him.

Anthony, hanging at Louis side, looked toward heaven and called upon the holy namesJesus, Mary! He began to sing a psalm: Praise the Lord, you children! (He learned it in catechism class in Nagasaki. They take care there to teach the children some psalms to help them learn their catechism.) Others kept repeating Jesus, Mary! Their faces were serene. Some of them even took to urging the people standing by to live worthy Christian lives. In these and other ways they showed their readiness to die.

Then, according to Japanese custom, the four executioners began to unsheathe their spears. At this dreadful sight, all the Christians cried out, Jesus, Mary! And the storm of anguished weeping then rose to batter the very skies. The executioners killed them one by one. One thrust of the spear, then a second blow. It was over in a very short time.

Read more here

Sent from my iPod

Ronald Reagan’s “Shining City On A Hill”

Ronald Reagan, where are you when we need you?!

Today would be President Ronald Reagan’s 99th birthday.  May God bless and caress him for us, We, the People, whom he loved and lead.  We, the People, love and appreciate Reagan, the man, the mench, for his kindness, his integrity, his values, his patriotism, his determination, and his faith in We, the People.  He kept the vision of a “Shining City on a hill” before his eyes.  So, too, must we! Ronald Reagan is bright in our memory. Now we must live his dream. Freedom couldn’t have found a more clarion voice and heart to shout down the walls of tyranny by speaking with common sense. Listen again to his words of farewell: