In Christ, biological death is not a dying out of life but a dying into a more intense life.
– Aidan Nichols, OP, Year of the Lord’s Favour v. 2 p. 33
Here is a man that words cannot describe. Death could not defeat him nor toil dismay him. He did not fear death, nor did he refuse to live.
Feast of St. Martin of Tours (+397)
When I was young, at a time when Europe was torn apart by so many conflicts, I kept on asking myself: Why all these confrontations? Why do so many people, even Christians, condemn one another out of hand? And I wondered: is there, on this earth, a way of reaching complete understanding of others? Then came a day – I can still remember the date, and I could describe the place: the subdued light of a late summer evening, darkness settling over the countryside — a day when I made a decision. I said to myself, if this way does exist, begin with yourself and resolve to understand every person fully. That day, I was certain the vow I had made was for life. It involved nothing less than returning again and again, my whole life long, to this irrevocable decision: seek to understand all, rather than to be understood.
This day, Patriarch Athenagoras enters the life of eternity. With him we lose a man of the same prophetic vein as John XXIII. He had no lack of trials in his final years… Nevertheless, he was always optimistic. “In the evening, when I retire to my room,” he told me once, “I close the door on all my cares, and I say: Tomorrow!”
Death was not part of nature; it became part of nature. God did not decree death from the beginning; he prescribed it as a remedy. Human life, because of sin… began to experience teh burden of wretchedness in unremitting labour and unbearable sorrow. There had to be a limit to its evils; death had to restore what life had forfeited. Without the assistance of grace, immortality is more of a burden than a blessing.”
St. Ambrose, quoted in Spe Salvi (10)