Catholic Realist and Religious

Catholic Realist and Religious

Rev. Geoffrey Kerslake is a priest of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Ottawa and responds to the question you be a catholic realist and religious.

There is a beautiful line from the Catholic funeral liturgy that reminds us of the reality of death: “Lord, for your faithful people life is changed, not ended.

When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven” (Preface of Christian Death I). Catholic Christians have a very realistic view of death: “Death is the end of man’s earthly pilgrimage, of the time of grace and mercy which God offers him so as to work out his earthly life in keeping with the divine plan, and to decide his ultimate destiny”(Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1013).

We know that one day we must all pass from this life and this reality brings with it a sense of responsibility in terms of how we use the time that we have been given. Most often we do not know when we will pass from this life. This makes our daily choice to be a good Christian important because our choices in this life have eternal consequences.

Sometimes, however, a person knows that time is growing short and so can prepare to leave this life by seeking and granting forgiveness for past transgressions and by prayerfully examining their life in anticipation of meeting God. The Catholic Church has a sacrament called the Sacrament of the Sick for people who are seriously ill or dying to give them spiritual comfort, healing and the forgiveness of sins to help them on their journey home to God.

The reception of Holy Communion as part of the celebration of the sacrament is called “viaticum” which means “to take with you” recognizing that worthily receiving the Body and Blood of Christ especially at the end of our lives is a most efficacious and beautiful preparation to meet our Maker.

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