birth of Christ, death was an awful prospect feared by all. It is
still so for most people. But with the death of Christ, death has
become a glorious experience in that from the death of Christ came eternal
life for us all.
Such is the death of a saint.
So much good comes from it that death becomes glorious, that the Apostle
Paul exclaimed, "Death where is your sting?" What made people fear death was
Though this is not the case for
all. When a soul obedient to God dies, his death is so edifying that
the beholders are encouraged to be obedient to God, too. When a humble
person dies, his death is so uplifting that others are encouraged to be
humble as he is.
So, the death of a person close to
God, like the death of Christ, becomes a source of holiness and eternal
salvation for others.
But the death of a sinner is
unedifying to those around. When a sinner dies, the people around are
filled with fear at the thought of death. And the fear of death puts a
soul more in the clutches of the evil one. The saints said to put
death ever before one's mind but did not say that we should fear death.
Thomas of Aquinas