As Catholic believers, we believe in Purgatory which is a temporary place of purification which eventually leads to heaven.
There are: Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory.
The whole reality of these last moments: Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory is true reality of eternity —meaning forever and ever without end.
Let us check a Biblical passage and meditation on the reality of Death. One of the primary purposes of the meditation upon the Last Things — Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell, as well as Purgatory, is to help us reflect upon the shortness of life, the serious character of living out Principle and Foundation, and the real danger of sin especially, falling into grave sin and the possibility of dying in grave sin. As well as the importance of meditating upon Heaven and longing to attain it with every fiber of our being.
The Biblical passage we would look at is a death that was not exemplary, a death that did not end on a good note, the death of a very famous man who did not obey God. The meditation will be on the death of the Leader of Israel, King Saul, who would be replaced by David as the new King of Israel.
Brief life of King Saul
King Saul had many good qualities. He was tall, strong, good-looking, and a good military leader up to a certain point. However, the downfall of Saul was disobedience to God and jealousy and envy towards David. Eventually, in the midst of a losing battle, Saul ended his life by falling on his own sword so that he would not be humiliated and killed by his enemies. In other words, Saul was a believer, but He did not put into practice what he had learned in his faith.
What is the Purpose of this Meditation?
The primary purpose of this meditation is the following:
To beg for the grace of humility, obedience, and perseverance in a faith that is supported by good works and that are pleasing to God Almighty. Furthermore, this meditation should motivate us with a strong awareness and desire to renounce sin and all its trappings, and all that leads us to sin.
As well as a sincere desire in our prayer to be humble and to recognize that like King Saul, we can fall away and end our lives distant from our loving God and Father. In a word, we too can decide to abuse our freedom, rather than to use it to honor and praise God and save our souls!
Here are meditations on the Reality of Death
1. What is Death?
Death is, “The separation of the soul from the body.” This is the theological definition of death.
2. When Will One Die?
There is a proverb in Argentina which says it all: “La muerte is lo mas cierto, pero es lo mas incierto.” (“Death is the most certain, but it is also the most uncertain.”) This proverb teaches us that we will all die one day, but we know neither the day nor the hour.
3. What are the Two Worst Things
The two worst things that can befall a person are committing a mortal sin, and worse yet, dying in the state of mortal sin. If we commit a mortal sin, there is always hope; we can always return to God through repentance and Confession. However, if we die in mortal sin then we lose our immortal soul for all eternity!
4. Jesus’s Teaching on Death
Always in the teachings of Jesus and His many Parables, Jesus insists that we must always be vigilant. By vigilant, Jesus meant that we must be ready and on guard. Jesus says:
“Stay awake and pray. You know neither the day nor the hour. It will come like in the time of Noah. It will come like a thief in the night.” (cf Mt 24)
5. The Saints and the Reality of Death
Many of the saints meditated on the reality of death. Actually, Saint Alphonsus Liguori wrote a book titled “Preparation for Death”.
The Saints insisted on living each day of our life as if it were the last day of our life. One day this will be a reality, but we do not know when, so we must be prepared!
6. Our Life and Death
Thomas à Kempis wrote a book tittled, The Imitation of Christ. He states: “It is not important a long life, but a holy life.”
Saint Ignatius of Loyola in Principle and Foundation reiterates the same truth: “It is not important health over sickness, long life over short life, riches over poverty, honors over humiliations, but rather that we save our souls.”
7. Have Perseverance in Grace Until the End
As you meditate upon the fall of King Saul and his unhappy death, you should think seriously about your life right now and the possibility of falling out of grace. Then with all the fervor of your soul, you should beg, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for the grace of final perseverance.
Saint Alphonsus teaches us that: “The grace of all graces is to die in the state of grace.” That means the salvation of your soul!
8. Call to Conversion
Meditating on the stark and sober reality of death should move you to dig deep into the inner recesses of your heart to locate what is the major obstacle, the major road-block for you in attaining your eternal salvation. The first words of Jesus in His Public life were: “Be converted, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”(Mk. 1:15)
9. You Must Stay Awake
King Saul was famous; he had power; he had luxury and pleasure. All of these can be obstacles in the life of a follower of Jesus Christ. Open your eyes and be aware of the many insidious tentacles that the devil can use to ensnare you! Stay awake and be vigilant!
10. Discouragement and Despair
Saint Faustina Kowalska, in the Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul, states that the worst of all sins is that of failing to Trust in God’s never-failing and all-powerful Mercy. The root cause of the fall of King Saul was both proud and had a lack of trust in God’s love and mercy. The Psalmist teaches: “God is slow to anger and rich in mercy.” (Ps 145:8) Despite our weaknesses, limitations, and many failures we should never lose our trust in God!
Beg the Blessed Virgin Mary for the grace to be humble, to trust God, to return to God constantly after falling with a limitless trust in His Infinite Love and Mercy!
Pray fervently the Hail Mary;
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen!
Beg for the grace of all graces: a holy and happy death!