“The dead shall hear the voice of God’s Son.” John 5:25
Going to a priest for confession is a scary thing for many people. Just like many people fear going to the dentist because of physical pain, going to the priest can seem like it will be spiritually painful. One time at a youth conference i had a youth leader ask me if it was OK for the kids not to go face to face when they came to confession. I thought about it for a little and responded that it would be a good practice to go face to face because one day, soon and very soon, we are all going to have the ultimate face to face with Jesus. When we die we will become before our Lord and he will judge our hearts.
What will that day be like for you? When you come face to face with Jesus and he lays your life bare before you, what will be revealed? He knows everything about you so there is no use trying to hide any sin or mistake. Face to face is the policy for a Christian who wants to have an honest relationship with God.
St. Benedict reminds us to always keep death before us because it gives us wisdom for living. The fact that we will die and see Jesus face to face teaches us to live for the one who will judge our lives. Millions of believers the world over have prayed the Rosary countless times in their lives. The last part of the Hail Mary is: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.” For those who have prayed the hail Mary throughout their lives it has been a preparation for our face to face with Jesus and asking him to embrace us in death. The Hail Mary is a prayer that reminds us to be prepared for what Jesus will say to us when we behold him after we die.
One way we can prepare for our face to face meeting with Jesus is to write our own obituary. I know this may kind of morbid but I think it can be a very valuable exercise in defining how we want to spend our time on earth. Is it all just about being in the rat race, getting more and more and continually selling out to the raging consumer machine? Or, are we just more concerned about doing whatever God wants us to do? Would not the most satisfying obituary have the main message that we did what God wanted us to do?
We will die shortly (compared to eternity) and have a face to face with Jesus. If you died today, what would he say to you?
May we all hear these or similar words from Jesus when we die. “The one who loves me speaks; he says to me, ‘Arise my beloved, my beautiful one, and come! For see, the winter is past, the rains over and gone. The flowers appear on earth, the time of pruning the vines has come, and the song of the dove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance. Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come!'” (Song of Songs 2:10-13)