The Profession of Faith
Death is a consequence of sin.
The Church’s Magisterium, as
authentic interpreter of the affirmations of Scripture and Tradition,
teaches that death entered the world on account of man’s sin.
Even though man’s nature is mortal, God had destined him not to
die. Death was therefore contrary to the plans of God the Creator
and entered the world as a consequence of sin.
from which man would have been immune had he not sinned” is
thus “the last enemy” of man left to be conquered.
Death is transformed by Christ.
Jesus, the Son of God, also
himself suffered the death that is part of the human condition. Yet,
despite his anguish as he faced death, he accepted it in an act of
complete and free submission to his Father’s will.
of Jesus has transformed the curse of death into a blessing.
The meaning of Christian death
Because of Christ, Christian death has a positive meaning:
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
“The saying is
sure: if we have died with him, we will also live with him.”
is essentially new about Christian death is this: through Baptism,
the Christian has already “died with Christ” sacramentally, in
order to live a new life; and if we die in Christ’s grace, physical
death completes this “dying with Christ” and so completes our
incorporation into him in his redeeming act:
It is better for me to die in (
) Christ Jesus than to reign over
the ends of the earth. Him it is I seek—who died for us. Him
it is I desire—who rose for us. I am on the point of giving
birth . . . . Let me receive pure light; when I shall have arrived
there, then shall I be a man.
In death, God calls man to himself. Therefore the Christian
can experience a desire for death like St. Paul’s: “My desire is to
depart and be with Christ.”
He can transform his own death into
an act of obedience and love towards the Father, after the example
2:17; 3:3; 3:19;
5:12; 6:23; DS 1511.
18 § 2; cf.
578 St. Ignatius of Antioch,
, 6, 1-2: