Holy Father shares advice on the fear of death
Death and God’s judgment should be on everyone’s mind, but faithfulness to God will conquer our fears, Pope Francis has said.
“Fidelity to the Lord does not disappoint. If each one of us is faithful to the Lord, when death comes, we will say like Francis (of Assisi) ‘come sister death…’ we won’t be afraid,” the Pope said Nov. 22.
“And when the day of judgement comes, we will look at the Lord: ‘Lord I have many sins but I have tried to be faithful.’ And our Lord is good,” he said.
“I give you this advice: ‘be faithful until death’ said the Lord ‘and I will give you the crown of life.’ With this fidelity we won’t be afraid of death, when we die we won’t be afraid of the day of judgment.”
Pope Francis spoke in his homily for Tuesday morning Mass at the chapel of his Santa Marta residence.
Reflecting on the daily reading from the Book of Revelation, he reminded the congregation that each one of them would die. He asked each person to consider what he or she will say before God on Judgment Day.
˝We’d do well to think: But what will the day be like when I will be in front of Jesus? When He asks me about the talents that he gave me, what use I made of them, when He will ask me: how was my heart when the seed was dropped, like a path or like thorns: that Parable of the Kingdom of God. How did I receive His Word? With an open heart? Did I make it germinate for the good of all or in secret?”
The Pope cited Jesus’ warning against false signs of the end of the world: “Do not be deceived.” The pontiff warned against deceptions: alienation, estrangement and living “as though we never had to die.”
When God comes, the Pope asked, “How will he find me? Waiting for Him or in the midst of the many ‘alienations’ of life?”
For Pope Francis, Judgment Day reminded him of his childhood religious lessons.
“I remember as a child, when we went to catechism we were taught four things: death, judgement, hell or glory. After the judgment there is this possibility.
“But Father, this is to frighten us…,” he imagined someone asking.
“No, this is the truth because if you do not take care of your heart, because the Lord is with you, and (if) you always live estranged from the Lord, perhaps there is the danger,” the Pope warned, “the danger of continuing to live estranged in this way from the Lord for eternity.”
“And this is a terrible thing!”
He cited the day’s gospel acclamation, from the Book of Revelation: “remain faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life.”