To speak truth without love is often to be deliberately cruel. The inverse holds true, too—as to avoid the truth out of a sense of “love” causes just as much damage. Few places are these two equally erroneous attitudes on display quite like at the deathbed.
The former camp would say, truthfully but carelessly, “That person is gone. His soul stands in judgment before God Almighty. There is nothing more he can do for himself.” The latter camp would canonize every deceased member of the human race instantly, assuring us that Uncle Tim is, at this very moment, in heaven. Perhaps they would take it a step farther and try to convince us that Uncle Tim experienced some radical change in his very nature and is now an angel with wings, walking the Heavenly streets of gold. No further thought save for wistful ones need be directed towards our now angelic Uncle Tim as he strides confidently through the Pearly Gates.
Holy Mother Church, however, tells us of the third option, radiant with both truth and love. So important is this telling that She sets aside a whole day for it, and calls it All Souls Day. There, in that uniquely Catholic of celebrations, we acknowledge a number of tremendously important things.
-The dead cannot do anything for themselves in regards to their salvation. The Catechism states: Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ. (CCC 1021)
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