Life and Death

Have you ever considered that you may be the last or one of the last people another soul encounters before his death?

Human reason has not and will never conquer the mystery of life and death. It can never explain the significance of each individual’s existence, whether short or long, on Earth. It can never, try as it might, become God; on the contrary, as it seeks to make unto itself the becoming of a god, it will suffer.

This is what we witness in the world today: millions of self-proclaimed “enlightened,” who in fear of the unknown, develop all manner of absurdity, perversity, and abomination. 

The moment of birth, as with the moment of death, is not the prerogative of mankind to direct. And, when it is attempted, evil manifests in those who take it upon themselves to try and take the place of almighty God, and subsequently, evil pervades the entirety of the society that comes to their defense.

The mind alone, without God’s presence and direction of will, is a dangerous, deceitful guide. In a quest to absolve itself of fear of death, it leads a soul to death while the body still lives, making what would be a joyous life experience into one of needless anxiety and all manner of pain. 

At all times, our minds must be in full submission to God. It will then be a useful tool to determine how we do all activities, including how we communicate with every individual we encounter. 

Today, I reflect upon life and death in this piece, as I consider our prayers to God in the Divine Liturgy that He remember all our Orthodox fathers and brethren, the founders of our Church, God-fearing rulers, and others who have departed from this life. 

This brought an awareness to me of the utmost importance of each encounter we have with every human being we meet. I began to recall individuals I had not thought of for a long time who are now deceased. What was my last meeting with them like?

Consider that, at any moment, you may be one of, if not the last person, another communicates with prior to their death. 

Death can occur at any moment for any of us. How tragic that a man reaches his physical death having already brought death to his soul by choosing to reject God while here on earth. Such a man has only the continuation of his death, though with the eternal consequence of his spiritual choice.

Yet each of us is intended to be a light for all we meet, pointing to our Lord. Are our encounters holy? Do we always choose to communicate in love? Is our life one of humility, which can lead another to seek what it is we have found in the salvation of Christ?

For God made not death: neither hath he pleasure in the destruction of the living.” (Wisdom of Solomon, 1:13, KJV).

There is nothing to fear in death. The fear lies only in standing before the throne of God’s judgment when one has rebelled against God. This is the fate of those who choose to trust their minds alone. The choice is between light and darkness, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, or demons. It is a choice the heart is aware of and makes, no matter how vehemently the mind enters into denial of it.

Due to being made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27, KJV), we were created for life, as Jesus told us, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10, KJV).

Realize you may be the last opportunity for an individual before he passes from this physical life to experience the presence of God through you. I speak not of verbal “preaching” necessarily, as many are apt to do. I speak of the energy you bestowed upon them—was it of love? One knows not what effect our spirit will have on the path of another. What is known is that each of us is called to evince God’s love for all.

Prepare yourself for death by bringing the life of God to all in every breath you take, every word you speak, and every glance you give. In doing so, you live.

And when your intellect is conformed to the will of God, you may also help prepare another for death whom God has brought to you for this very purpose. Or, perhaps, the encounter with you will prepare them for life more abundantly now, as God intends.

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