I BELIEVE IN LIFE EVERLASTING
The Christian who unites his own death to that of Jesus
views it as a step towards him and an entrance into everlasting life.
When the Church for the last time speaks Christ’s words of pardon
and absolution over the dying Christian, seals him for the last time
with a strengthening anointing, and gives him Christ in viaticum
as nourishment for the journey, she speaks with gentle assurance:
Go forth, Christian soul, from this world
in the name of God the almighty Father,
who created you,
in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God,
who suffered for you,
in the name of the Holy Spirit,
who was poured out upon you.
Go forth, faithful Christian!
May you live in peace this day,
may your home be with God in Zion,
with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
with Joseph, and all the angels and saints. . . .
May you return to [your Creator]
who formed you from the dust of the earth.
May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints
come to meet you as you go forth from this life. . . .
May you see your Redeemer face to face. . . .
Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either
accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.
New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the
final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeat-
edly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in
accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man
Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as
well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the
soul—a destiny which can be different for some and for others.
Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal
soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment
Prayer of Commendation.