Question: Is there life after death?
Answer: The Church admits, "Neither Scripture nor theology provides sufficient light for a proper picture of life after death." On the other hand, the document says, "Respect must, however, be given to the images employed in the Scriptures." I believe anyone who is walking with Christ and anointed with the Holy Spirit will draw great consolation and inspiration from the "image employed in the Scriptures."
The instruction states that Christians must firmly hold these essential points: "They must believe in the fundamental continuity, thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit, between our present life in Christ and the future life," and yet, "they must be clearly aware of the radical break between the present life and the future one, due to the fact that the economy of faith will be replaced by the economy of fullness of life."
I myself, in pondering the awesomeness of dying and the challenge of daily living, draw great encouragement from the wisdom of the word of God: "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Cor. 2:9).
There is also great consolation in our Catholic practice of remembering the deceased at the Table of the Lord, that is, at holy Mass. Our prayers can assist those who may be undergoing purgation. The Eucharist unites us more profoundly to the risen Lord, through whom we still have a relationship with those "who have gone before us" (Eucharistic Prayer, No. 1). With them, we too await the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ" when there will be established "new heavens and a new earth (Rev. 21:1).
Then, as we now so long, "There shall be no more death or mourning, crying out or pain" (Rev. 21:4).
You may find the research done by Raymond A. Moody in his volumes titled Life After Life (Bantam Books) very interesting. Such clinical death experiences somewhat verify what our faith teaches, namely, we do meet the Lord in the human death process. Then comes a particular or individual judgment even as we await the general and final judgment. May we all be prepared for that day by living a good and holy life in Christ Jesus.
From Pastoral Answers to Questions about the faith by Rev. John Patrick Bertolucci
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