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Saint Josemaria
Quotations from Saint Josemaria

Is it Possible to Face Death Serenely?

Tags: Love of God, Heaven, Cross, Faith, Grace, Death, happiness, life, eternity
“Jesus’ Resurrection does not only give us the certainty of life after death, it also illumines the very mystery of the death of each one of us. If we live united to Jesus, faithful to him, we will also be able to face the passage of death with hope and serenity.”
Pope Francis, general audience, November 27, 2013


Every day that passes brings you nearer to Life

Have you seen the dead leaves fall in the sad autumn twilight? Thus souls fall each day into eternity. One day, the falling leaf will be you.
The Way, no. 736

Have you never heard the worldly-minded sadly complain that ‘each day that passes is a step nearer death’?
It is. And I tell you: rejoice, apostolic soul, for each day that passes brings you closer to Life.
The Way, no. 737

Death comes and cannot be avoided. What empty vanity it is, then, to centre our existence on this life. See how much many men and women suffer. Some suffer because life is coming to an end and it pains them to leave it; others because it is going on, and they are sick of it... In neither case is there room for the mistaken view that sees our passage through this world as an end in itself.
One must leave that way of thinking behind and anchor oneself to another, an eternal one. A total change is required, to empty oneself of self-centred motives, which pass away, and to be renewed in Christ, who is eternal.
Furrow, no. 879

Keep going forward cheerfully and trying hard, even though you are so little – nothing at all!
When you are with Him nobody in the world can stop you. Consider, moreover, how “everything is good for those who love God”. Everything in this world can be put right, except death, and for us death is Life.
The Forge, no. 1001


Not scared of death

When you think about death, do not be afraid, in spite of your sins... For he already knows that you love him
If you are an apostle, death for you will be a good friend who helps you on your way.
The Way, no. 735

For ‘others’, death is a stumbling block, a source of terror. For us, death – Life – is an encouragement and a stimulus.
For them it is the end: for us, the beginning.
The Way, no. 738

You – if you are an apostle – will not have to die. You will move to a new house: that is all.
The Way, no. 744

Don’t be afraid of death. Accept it from now on, generously... when God wills it, where God wills it, as God wills it. Don’t doubt what I say: it will come in the moment, in the place and in the way that are best: sent by your Father-God. Welcome be our sister death!
The Way, no. 739

When you think about death, do not be afraid, in spite of your sins... For he already knows that you love him... and what stuff you are made of.
If you seek him, he will welcome you as the father welcomed the prodigal son; but you have to seek him!
Furrow, no. 880

A son or daughter of God fears neither life nor death, because our spiritual life is founded on a sense of divine filiation. “God is my Father,” we think, “and he is the Author of all good; he is all Goodness.”
But you and I – do we really act as children of God?
The Forge, no. 987

To die is a good thing. How can anyone with faith be, at the same time, afraid to die? But as long as the Lord wants to keep you here on earth, it would be cowardice for you to want to die. You must live, live and suffer and work for Love: that is your task.
The Forge, no. 1037

I am every day more convinced that happiness in Heaven is for those who know how to be happy on earth.
The Forge, no. 1005

The happiness of Heaven
True Christians, who act according to their faith, always have their sights set on God. Their outlook is supernatural. They work in this world of ours, which they love passionately; they are involved in all its challenges, but all the while their eyes are fixed on Heaven.
Friends of God, no. 206

There is no greater nobility than to know oneself to be serving, in a willing service of all souls! This is how to gain the greatest honours, both on earth and in Heaven.
The Forge, no. 1045

If at any time you feel uneasy at the thought of our sister death because you see yourself to be such a poor creature, take heart. Heaven awaits us. And consider: what will it be like when all the infinite beauty and greatness, and happiness and Love of God will be poured into the poor clay vessel that the human being is, to satisfy it eternally with the freshness of an ever new joy?
Furrow, no. 891

You wrote: “Simile est regnum caelorum – the Kingdom of God is like a treasure... This passage from the Holy Gospel has fallen on my soul and taken root. I had read it so many times before, without grasping its meaning, its divine flavour.
Yes, everything! The prudent man has to sell everything to obtain the treasure – the precious pearl of Glory.”
The Forge, no. 993

Think how pleasing to God Our Lord is the incense burnt in his honour. Think also how little the things of this earth are worth; even as they begin they are already ending.
In Heaven, instead, a great Love awaits you, with no betrayals and no deceptions. The fullness of love, the fullness of beauty and greatness and knowledge... And it will never cloy: it will satiate, yet still you will want more.
The Forge, no. 995

With a supernatural outlook, with serenity and peace. That is the way to see things, people and events – from the viewpoint of eternity.
And then, whatever barrier blocks your way – even if it is, humanly speaking, enormous – when you really raise your eyes to Heaven, how tiny it becomes!
The Forge, no. 996
I am more convinced every day that happiness in Heaven is for those who know how to be happy on earth

Men lie when they say “forever” in temporal matters. The only true “forever”, in the complete sense, is the forever of eternity.
And that is the way you have to live, with a faith that brings a foretaste of the sweet honey of Heaven whenever you think about that eternity which is truly everlasting.
The Forge, no. 999

How that sick woman whom I tended spiritually loved the Will of God! She saw her many, long-lasting and painful illnesses (not a single part of her body was healthy), as a blessing from Jesus and a sign of his special love. Although in her humility she used to say that she deserved punishment, the terrible sufferings that she felt all over her were not a punishment, but a mercy.
We spoke of death. And of Heaven. And of what she was going to say to Jesus and to Our Lady. And how she would be “working” much more from up there than she could down here. She was ready to die whenever God wanted... but, she exclaimed, full of joy, “If only it could be today!” She looked forward to death with the same joy as one who knows that when we die we go to meet our Father.
The Forge, no. 1034

Time is short for doing good
You became very serious when you heard me say: I accept death whenever God wants it, the way he wants it, where he wants it; and at the same time I think it is too easy to die early, because we should want to work many years for him, and because of him, in the service of others.
The Forge, no. 1039

The thought of death will help you to grow in the virtue of charity, for it might be that this particular instant in which you are together with one person or another is the last one... They, or you, or I, could be gone at any moment.
Furrow, no. 895

Much depends on you too. If you respond many will remain in darkness no longer, but will walk instead along paths that lead to everlasting life.
The Forge, no. 1011

Get into the habit of praying to the Guardian Angel of each person you are following up, to help them to be good and faithful and cheerful, so that when the time comes they will be able to receive the eternal embrace of Love from God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit and from the Blessed Virgin.
The Forge, no. 1012

Time is life
If time were mere gold... you could perhaps afford to squander it.
But time is life, and you don’t know how much you have left.
Furrow, no. 963

A true Christian is always ready to appear before God. Because, if he is fighting to live as a man of Christ, he is ready at every moment to fulfil his duty.
Furrow, no. 875

For us Christians the fleetingness of our journey through life should be a spur to help us make better use of our time. It should never be a motive for fearing Our Lord, and much less for looking upon death as a disastrous and final end. It had been said in countless ways, some more poetical than others that, by the grace and mercy of God, each year that ends is a step that takes us nearer to Heaven, our final home.
When I reflect on this, how well I understand St Paul’s exclamation when he writes to the Corinthians, “time is short.” How short indeed is the time of our passing through this world! For true Christians these words ring deep down in our heart as a reproach to our lack of generosity, and as a constant invitation to be loyal. Brief indeed is our time for loving, for giving, for making atonement. It would be very wrong, therefore, for us to waste it, or to cast this treasure irresponsibly overboard. We mustn’t squander this period of the world’s history which God has entrusted to each one of us.
Friends of God, no. 39

Eternal happiness
If you long to have life – eternal life and happiness –you must not leave the barque of Holy Mother Church. Look, if you go beyond the confines of the ship you end up in the waves of the sea, heading for death, drowned in the ocean. You cease to be with Christ. You lose that friendship of his which you freely chose when you realised that it was he who was offering it to you.
The Forge, no. 1043

To save mankind, Lord, you died on the Cross. And yet for one mortal sin you condemn a man to a hapless eternity of suffering. How much sin must offend you, and how much I ought to hate it!
The Forge, no. 1002

With crystal clarity I see the formula, the secret of happiness, both earthly and eternal. It is not just a matter of accepting the Will of God but of embracing it, of identifying oneself with it – in a word, of loving the Divine Will with a positive act of our own will.
This, I repeat, is the infallible secret of joy and peace.
The Forge, no. 1006

Living and dying as people in love
Don’t make a tragedy out of death, for it is not one. Only unloving children do not look forward to meeting their parents.
Furrow, no. 885

You shouldn’t want to do things to gain merit, nor out of fear of the punishments of purgatory. From now on, and always, you should make the effort to do everything, even the smallest things, to please Jesus.
The Forge, no. 1041

My God, when will I love you for yourself? Although when we think about it, Lord, to desire an everlasting reward is to desire you, for you give yourself as our reward.
The Forge, no. 1030

Before the cross, we should have sorrow for our sins and for those of all men, for they are responsible for Jesus’ death. We should have faith to penetrate deep into this sublime truth which surpasses our understanding and to fill ourselves with amazement at God’s love. And we should pray so that Christ’s life and death may become the model and motivation for our own life and self-giving. Only thus will we earn the name of conquerors: for the risen Christ will conquer in us, and death will be changed into life.
Christ is Passing By, no. 101

How much sin must offend you, and how much I ought to hate it!
I was delighted to see that you understood what I had said to you: you and I have to work and live and die like people in love, and we will live in this way for all eternity.
The Forge, no. 988

In the hour of temptation, practise the virtue of Hope, saying: For my rest and enjoyment I have the whole of eternity ahead of me. Here and now, full of Faith, I will earn my rest through work and win my joy through suffering. What will Love be like in Heaven?
Better still, you should practise your Love by saying: What I want is to please my God, my Love, by doing his Will in all things, as though there were neither reward nor punishment – simply to please him.
The Forge, no. 1008

Do not ever forget that after death you will be welcomed by Love itself. And in the love of God you will find as well all the noble loves which you had on earth. Our Lord has arranged for us to spend this brief day of our earthly existence working and, like his only-begotten Son, ‘doing good’. Meanwhile we have to be on our guard, alert to the call St Ignatius of Antioch felt within his soul as the hour of his martyrdom approached. ‘Come to the Father,’ come to your Father, who anxiously awaits you.
Let us ask Holy Mary, Spes Nostra, our hope, to kindle in us a holy desire that we may all come together to dwell in the house of the Father. Nothing need disturb us if we make up our minds to anchor our hearts in a real longing for our true fatherland. Our Lord will lead us there with his grace, and he will send a good wind to carry our ship to the bright shores of our destination.
Friends of God, no. 221