For those who believe, death never has the final word

      As is the experience of many, in my circle of people, death seems to come in multiples – two or three, or more in a row. I actually remember a time when I hesitated to answer the phone because, each time I did, it was only to find that yet another had died.

      In recent times, death has come to several good souls I’ve had the privilege of knowing. Standing in line to pay my respects, watching the pain and sorrow the family was experiencing, the thought once again crosses my mind.

      How do people who have no faith in God get through moments like this?

      What does a non-believer tell him/herself about the meaning of life if it’s only a matter of one minute loved ones are here the next – poof! – the person simply ceases to exist?

      Really, in that instance, wouldn’t, the grief, sorrow, pain, loss, despair, and an overwhelming sense of puzzlement threaten to consume us?

      If you were a non-believer, wouldn’t you be asking yourself if that’s all there is? Seriously, what’s the point?

      Here’s the thing, even if one did not believe in God and the promise of eternity, you would only need to study nature to know that things are not random and without purpose. Nature – all creation, all people – are part of a great cycle of life. Birth to death to new life once again. Nature is never without purpose.

      We live for a purpose; we die so we might live again. Our Jesus taught us that. He promised life eternal and Jesus always keeps his word.

      Perhaps I ponder more on the subject now because, as we grow older, death is something with which we need to make our peace. When I was twenty, there were many things to do; people to see. Don’t get me wrong, God willing, I’m not nearly ready to die yet. But when that moment comes, and it will come for all of us - I hope my faith is strong enough that I won’t face death with fear but rather in anticipation, with a strong sense of longing, of going home.

      On Nov. 1, we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints, a celebration of all those souls who are now safely in God’s heaven. Unfortunately, for some, All Saints Day often overshadows the day that follows on Nov. 2, the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed, or All Souls Day, which is of remembrance as  we pray for the faithful who have died and are still in a process of purification before taking their place in heaven.

      Saints and those awaiting full their own sainthood in heaven – they have one thing in common. Their DNA is still a part of this world. They co-exist, co-mingle, with us still. They didn’t cease to be. They’re still with us, somewhere, somehow. Their lives weren’t without purpose; death did not have the final victory. They still exist!

      If you haven’t in the past, plan to attend an All Souls Day Mass at your parish this year. You still have time to check out the time in this week’s bulletin. As you pray for those you have lost, remind yourself that they are not really gone but still live in a way that is incredibly and wonderfully beyond our imagination. They still exist and heaven is their final destination. They remind us of our destiny.

     Thank you, Jesus, for making that possible for us.

     Debbie Bosak is the editor and general manager of Northwest Indiana Catholic Publications and a member of Ss. Peter and Paul parish in Merrillville. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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