Science tells me that matter is indestructible. Therefore, it is enduring, undying. It is never destroyed but merely transformed into another state or form. Ice melts and becomes water. Water evaporates and becomes clouds. Clouds condense and fall as snow. And so is life. In the Requiem Mass, we declare that life is changed, not take away. Vita mutatur, non tollitur.
We chanced upon this “dead” trunk in one of our hikes. As it was early spring, greens were sprouting all over the landscape. And the “dead” trunk joined in in this happy burst of new life by sprouting several tender shoots. Life will never be denied and will always find a way to express itself. And so is my life; it will endure and not simply end in death.
In my old age, I think a lot about the end of life. If what happens in nature is also true of my life, then death is not the end of my life. Thus, I know for a fact that my life will not end, but will continue on after death. Now, will my remains just simply return to earth as my body decomposes completely into dust? Or will death but be a portal or threshold to another state or form of existence I must pass through. What about my consciousness as a unique and discrete person, will that survive in death? How? My faith tells me that I will have eternal life in the presence and company of my God.
I often wonder what happens at the moment of death. I sometimes imagine that just as I came about in an orgasmic ejaculation, I will also leave this world in one orgasmic final explosion. I imagine that at the moment of death, all the pleasure centers of my body are simultaneously stimulated and I experience one of ultimate and extreme sensation I have never experienced before.
What I am or where I am or how I am would define that final moment. If one is angry or hateful when one dies, the final moment will be full of anger and hatred. And so would one’s eternity be, like Hell. If one dies happy and at peace, the final moment will be full of joy and serenity. So would one’s eternity be, like Heaven.
But in that final moment, I believe that God’s redeeming grace will rescue me. I believe in Purgatory where in the moment of death, God makes me undergo a final purification. This might take some time in terms of earth-time and earth-space. But in God’s presence, which is beyond space and time, this could happen in the blink of any eye.
Thus, God brings to completion His creative work in me. God, my Creator, is also my Perfecter.