I had an edifying conversation with some other priests recently on the topic of death, and it occurred to me: my hope (and prayer) is that I might have full use of my mental faculties until the very end, so that I can offer my life to God as I die. Of course, that means I hope also to have the grace to do that, in spite of whatever pain or fear of dying or anything else that may be involved.
Think about that a bit: there are a lot of dying scenarios that could include the particulars for which I hope/pray. This isn’t one of those “I hope I die a painless death in my sleep” wishes! Painless would be nice, but it is unrealistic (I likely need to suffer a lot for my sins). Every time we go to sleep we practice for death, and dying in one’s sleep might have a certain appeal over the other options, also — but it often means that loved ones don’t get to say goodbye.
No, I think my intention is that I might be awake at the moment I die and be able to offer myself to God. I hope he will grant my prayer. And give me the strength.
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(This post will probably freak some out. No, I am not dying that I know of. No, I am not planning to die soon. Yes, we could all die at any given moment. We know neither the day nor the hour. We all need to be ready.)