As death can seem like a wide separation, but those who died in grace are closer to us than they were on earth.
The death of a close relative or friend can hit really pain us. We loved and cherished their presence when they were alive and their death leaves an unfortunate vacuum in our lives.
However, while death takes us aside in a physical way, it’s not actually the end. Because there is hope found in the Eucharist.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes why we call the Eucharistic celebration “holy communion.”
Holy Communion, because by this sacrament we bring ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body. (CCC 1331)
Furthermore, the Catechism goes on to spread on this reality, stating that the “Eucharist is celebrated in communion with the entire Church in heaven and on earth, both the living and the dead.”
The worthy reception of Holy Communion at Mass brings us together to Jesus Christ, and by doing so, it unites us to everyone who is in union with him. And this includes all the saints in heaven, not simply the canonized ones who are recognized by the Church, but all the deceased individuals who have been purified by the love of Christ.
The Eucharist truly unites heaven and earth. Many who have lost a beloved one may experience closeness to that person after receiving Holy Communion or while in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. These feelings may be as a result of a deep theological consciousness that those who died in grace are alive in Christ; thus our closeness to Christ in the Eucharist brings us nearer to them as well.
On that case, we do not know for certain if a beloved relative or friend is really united with Christ in Heaven. They may have had to have an experience of a period of purgation in the afterlife, before being able to pass through the gates of Heaven.
Though, others we know may have led a virtuous life and died a beautiful death, united to the cross of Jesus Christ.
Nevertheless of who is in Heaven, in the Eucharist we are united in a spiritually to countless people who have died. In this way, we are closer to them than we would have been when they were alive. It is a mysterious theological truth, but one that can give us comfort in this vale of tears.
The Eucharist is an anticipation of that heavenly banquet, where we will be united to Jesus and those in Heaven in a way that we cannot imagine here on earth. It gives us hope that one day, we will be reunited with our beloved friend, parent, spouse or child.
In our lives today, death does not have the final say. Jesus has defeated death and has provided a place for us and our loved ones to live in love and peace for all eternity.