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The Profession of Faith

263

1008

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.

571

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.

572

“Bodily death,

from which man would have been immune had he not sinned” is

thus “the last enemy” of man left to be conquered.

573

1009

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.

574

The obedience

of Jesus has transformed the curse of death into a blessing.

575

The meaning of Christian death

1010

Because of Christ, Christian death has a positive meaning:

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

576

“The saying is

sure: if we have died with him, we will also live with him.”

577

What

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 (

eis

) 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.

578

1011

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.”

579

He can transform his own death into

an act of obedience and love towards the Father, after the example

of Christ:

580

571 Cf.

Gen

2:17; 3:3; 3:19;

Wis

1:13;

Rom

5:12; 6:23; DS 1511.

572 Cf.

Wis

2:23-24.

573

GS

18 § 2; cf.

1 Cor

15:26.

574 Cf.

Mk

14:33-34;

Heb

5:7-8.

575 Cf.

Rom

5:19-21.

576

Phil

1:21.

577

2 Tim

2:11.

578 St. Ignatius of Antioch,

Ad Rom.

, 6, 1-2:

Apostolic Fathers,

II/2, 217-220.

579

Phil

1:23.

580 Cf.

Lk

23:46.

401

376

612

1681-1690

1220

1025