“Some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live”
-Henry Van Dyke
The inevitability of death can overwhelm some of us. However, we need to shift our perspective on what death really is, and in tandem, what life really is. Hopefully, the quotes below will help us to free ourselves from worldly concerns about death, and instead help us to see it for what it truly is. Death is the definitive separation of the soul from the body, but it is not our end. It is our passing over into eternal life.
When St. Thomas More was facing his death, he actually encouraged his executioner. He said, “Thou art to do me the greatest benefit that I can receive. . . Pluck up thy spirit, man, and be not afraid to do thine office. My neck is very short. Take heed therefore that thou strike not awry for saving of thine honesty.” Thomas More’s encouragement of the man about to end his life shows that he knew where he was going—to paradise with his Lord Jesus.
Isaac Asimov, a Russian-born American science fiction writer said, “Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.” What makes death bearable for Christians is looking forward to eternal life with God, not looking backwards or being fixated on our current suffering.
Stephen Vincent Benet, an American poet, said, “Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways.” Death, properly understood, provides a reason to live every moment more fully. The truest death is the failure to live.
St. Joan of Arc, wise beyond her years, said, “One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.” When we die, we have the joy of giving up our lives for Christ as He gave up his life for us. That is the greatest act of love we can aspire towards (St. John 15:13). As our Lord told us, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (St. Matthew 10:39).
Finally, the Greek thinker Epicurus might have said it best when he said, “The art of living well and the art of dying well are one.” The best way to prepare for death is to live excellently, to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul (St. Matthew 22:37).
Hopefully these quotes will help us to not only die well, but more importantly, to live well!
(quotes drawn from https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/dying-quotes and https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/death-and-dying)