Our Lord’s Rising from the dead frees us to face the reality of our own deaths and that of our loved ones in a proactive manner. Ways in which we might prepare for death include the following. First, we might plan to make out a will. Hopefully, this would specify clearly who gets what when we pass away. A number of persons are qualified to aid us in this matter. Having a will is especially important if and when a widowed person gets married again.
Even as we worship and honor the Lord on this side of death by setting aside a certain portion of our income for His work in this world, we might want to honor the Lord after we die by specifying that a certain amount or percentage of our estate be directed for His work in and through our parish, diocese and other avenues of charity.
Preparing for death includes discussing with our loved ones and making a plan for the disposition of our bodies after we die. In the eyes of the Church, cremation is permitted. The Church encourages and promotes the burial of our bodies after we leave this world. This practice honors and reverences our bodies as temples in and through which the Holy Spirit worked during our lives in this world. The burial of our bodies has traditionally been associated with our hope and belief in the resurrection of our bodies on the Last Day.
Choosing ahead of time the cemetery for our bodies or cremated remains can greatly reduce the stress and strain that is placed upon our loved ones when we leave this world. The cremated remains of our loved ones should be honored in the same way as we would honor the deceased body of a loved one. Dispersing the cremated remains of persons in various ways or placing an urn with the cremated remains of a loved one in a special spot in our homes does NOT honor the dignity of our deceased loved ones as the Church would have us express this.
We can prepare for our own deaths in a proactive way in the light of our Lord’s Resurrection by planning our funeral liturgy ahead of time. The office in both parishes has forms and booklets that enable us to do this.
Also, we honor our loved ones in the light of our Easter Faith as we plan for a full liturgical observance of the occasion of their deaths. This includes a Vespers Service, normally at the funeral home, the Funeral Mass and the committal service at the cemetery.
May we grow in the desire to express our faith in the Lord’s Resurrection both in the manner in which we relate to the remainder of our lives in this world as well as in the determination to prepare for our deaths and those of our loved ones while we are still here.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Nelson Beaver – Pastor