Dying well is living well

Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
The Seven Last Words, 07 April 2023
Photo by author, Chapel of the Holy Family, Sacred Heart Novitiate, Novaliches, Quezon City, 2014.

It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried our in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last.

Luke 23:44-46

Do you have a “bucket list”, of things to do before turning a certain age or before dying? Very often we read in social media articles of sample “bucket lists”, of things to do, things to see, food to eat before one dies as if these are the ultimate things or cities or food in the world!

I am sorry I do not believe in such “bucket list” no matter how good is that movie of the same title. It is all non-sense! Why spend so much time and energies of things to do before dying or turning 50 or 60 or whatever age when we should be making the most out of every present moment because we could die any time!

We will all die one day for sure. But, will we die well? Our death is our most wonderful and lasting gift to our loved ones if we die for them and for others, if we lived a fruitful life we can leave for them. The question we should be asking is “how do we live our lives meaningfully now in the present so that when we die, our lives would continue to bear fruit in the generations that will follow us?” Stop wondering or asking about what we can do in the future or the years we have left to live because that is highly hypothetical. It has not happened yet and might not even happen at all if we die soon enough. Get real by living fully in the present! Coming to terms with death is coming to terms with life. The moment we realize we shall die one day, that is when we start living authentically. And joyfully.

Jesus died so well on that Good Friday because he was able to surrender everything to the Father and for us all because he lived fully that is why he was able to surrender or give or commend his spirit. How about us? How sad that many times our loved ones left us with much pain and regrets because we never fully lived with them nor enjoy precious moments with them while still alive. Live fully in love and joy, forgiveness and mercy. Celebrate life daily. Life is too short to spend it in dramas and wishful thinking.

At the hour of our death like Jesus on that Good Friday, can we also give others and God our spirit of love and mercy, our spirit of joy and kindness? Or, we are still busy thinking what else we can do in this life? What if we are called back to God now, at this very moment?

Let us pray.

Lord Jesus Christ,
grant me the grace to live 
my life in you,
with you,
and through you
to the fullest in every here and now
so that if ever I should die any moment,
I am able to commend to the Father 
my spirit back to him
without regrets,
without pains,
without sin
but only with joy and gratitude
that my loved ones would 
feel and nurture
until we all meet again
in your kingdom in heaven.

Thank you for following our reflections on the Seven Last Words of Jesus on the Cross. May you have a meaningful Holy Week and a joyful Easter! God bless you!

Photo by author, 08 February 2023.

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