Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pondering Our Own Death

Whereas the readings for All Souls Day and homilies focus on the passing of others, they may also lead us to reflect on our own death, which we may do so ranging from hope and confidence in God's mercy to anxiety and fear.

The following are excerpts from the reflection for All Souls Day, pages 292-293, from A 12-Step Approach to the Sunday Readings (2002) by Fr. Jim Harbaugh S.J. Perhaps
these words can offer some comfort for those who work the twelve steps but are uncomfortable in thinking about their our death.

"In countries like Mexico, All Souls is the Day of the Dead, a festive occasion...; dead loved ones are still very much part of the family. Here in the United States, death is a lonelier affair. We may resist memories of those we have loved who have died, because they naturally lead us to think about our own deaths. What lies on the other side of death is, of course, an 'outside issue' for 12 Steppers--it's a case of death as we understand death. There is no such thing as 12-Step orthodoxy on this point (or any other, in fact). Still, I think that those of us who have been 'reborn' through practice of the Steps (see Big Book, 63) possess an important clue about what death might mean.

This makes sense to me: a Power that can bring us back from a deathly illness is worthy of trust in the matter of our deaths as well. We can prudently turn our will and our lives---and the end of our lives---over to the care of such a Power.

Or you might want to ponder these words of Bill W.: when we feel 'new power flow[ing] in,' early in recovery and later, and as we improve our 'consciousness of [God's] presence, we beg[i]n to lose our fear of today, tomorrow, or the hereafter' (Big Book, 63)."