Have we been created for death?

5 November 2021

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Have we been created for death? On one hand, death revolts us. On the other, if we look at nature, it is obviously part of our world. Is death inevitable and absurd? Or should we consider it differently? Letting my husband or my child go is heartbreaking. Are we made for death? On one hand, it revolts us. On the other, when considering nature, it obviously is part of this world. Is death inevitable and absurd? Or can we reflect on it from a different point of view? Rev. Fr. Don Guillaume d’Anselme answers Guillaume Desanges for RCF-Orne.

Have we been created for death?

Death as such is revolting. The death of a loved one seems absurd, meaningless. It clashes with our craving for life and the infinite that we nurture in our innermost. At the same time, if we look around, it cannot be denied that death is a component of this world. It is natural. At all times, and every day,living creatures, whether : plants, animals, or human beings, all come to an end. As soon as birth takes place, the living proceeds towards death.

Yet originally, man was not meant to die. God did not want death (Wis 2, 23-24). It came as “the wages of sin” (Rom 6:23). In turning away from God, the source of life, man chose its opposite: i.e. death. In this sense, death is a curse. However major Saints show us that it is not inevitable, it can be experienced as a way of advancing towards Christ in a manner still congruent with life. Since Christ, dying is the passage to Life.

How can Christ Jesus help us with dying?

Contemplating Christ Jesus, we can observe two aspects in dying. On one hand, it is an act of utter surrender. Thus Christ’s last words upon dying: “Father into your hands I commit my spirit”. On the other hand, it also entails some fight. Did he not beg his Father to take this cup away from him (Mt 26:39)?

Both are ways to meet Him. With Him, we can pass the ordeal of dying and enter into Life. Si le Christ willed to go through death, it was to help us go through it, not to make us avoid it.

How we would have loved Our Lord come and prevent us from having to undergo death! However, He answered our longing by showing us the way: for whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever accepts to go through this ordeal will save it and will live eternally.

Science seeks to shift back the lines

Science seeks to prolong life, compensate for nature deficiencies, heal what can be, why not? However in what is known as trans-humanism, it shows a will to refute death, to overcome it and install on earth a kind of paradise in which death would have no place and would no longer exists. It refers to the longing for life inscribed in everyone ever since creation, yet it also reveals the temptation to deny our mortal nature. Let us not seek to prolong life indefinitely but rather to live each moment with intensity.

Montligeon shrine chaplain, Fr. Don Guillaume d’Anselme’s interview by French Catholic Radio journalist Guillaume Desanges (RCF)

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