Death as a Gift

It may be, then, that the real answer to our question lies not in the concept  of immortality, but  of resurrection.  For Christians, it is encountered in that Pauline affirmation of a “transformed bodiliness” as a gift[3] and revealed in the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth as the “first fruits” (1 Cor 15:20).  For those for whom the Christian faith does not ground hope, the answer may come from an intuitive hope arising from a sense that  all the mortalities of this life fail to erase that inkling  of eternity that we so often have. In other words, in this field all mere knowledge is equally insecure; there remain the paths of a hopeful faith or hopeful wager whose foundation is unknown but which is not irrational.[4] As an example we can use the claim  of an otherwise very rational man like Theodor Adorno: “The thought that death is the absolutely ultimate cannot be thought through to the end.”[5] Yet there is something very important here: in both cases, it is “a trust that does not imagine.” In fact, our limited  imagination always damages true trust: “we shall live, love and rejoice,” said St. Augustine, and nothing else is needed.

What is important to note is the role that authentic love occupies in these different positions . We call it “authentic” because it is about love “as a free gift, not as an interested appropriation.” It is about the gratuitous love that so often surfaces in us when a person has died  and we regret that we did not behave better toward them when they were alive. Or the emotion  that surfaces when we think of loved ones who are gone and we almost feel that  we love them more than before, now that they can no longer be our rivals or opponents .

Source: La Civiltà Cattolica

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