March 2017 Print

First Experience with Death

by SSPX Sisters

The grandmother so much loved by little Dorothy is very sick. For several weeks, the parents pray for her with their little girl, without revealing to her the gravity of her grandmother’s state of health. Indeed, just as the little one would not be able to carry the worries of the parents, so she must not suffer from their sorrow. To the contrary, this young plant needs the sun to be able to flourish and grow more in the Good Lord’s garden. But the sickness worsens and Dorothy’s mother takes heart and begins gently to prepare the little one. She speaks to her of the loveliness of heaven, our true home, and explains that life here below is only a preparation for eternal life; that our soul yearns for that life, infinitely more beautiful than life on this earth. Finally she speaks about the portal that must be passed through to arrive at this joy…

The souls of little ones are so simple and ready to embrace the reality of death without fear. Because of this, one can speak plainly about death, like the other realities of the catechism. If children then manifest an apprehension, they should be shown the good side about which it is proper to rejoice—to be able to contemplate Jesus. Think about Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, who, at the age of three in an excess of love, told her mother her wish, “Oh! How I would like for you to die, my poor little mother.” The child was scolded, but she apologized with an air of astonishment saying, “This is so you would go to Heaven, since you say that one must die to go there!”

Pray for the dying with your children every day. When there is a sacrifice, an effort to make, remind them of those presently dying. Children must know that this hour is the most important of our life and that they should prepare for it starting now. This is also the occasion to explain to them the last words of the Hail Mary.

When it pleases the good Lord to remove from this earth a friend or a member of the family, go, if possible, to pray beside the deceased, taking your children (without forcing them), after having prepared them. But how can one prepare them? Listen again to Dorothy’s parents after the death of the dear grandmother, “When God created Adam’s body, it was without life. He had eyes, but he could see nothing. He had a mouth, but he could not say anything. He had legs, but he could not walk. Then God created a soul for him, very much more precious than the body. It was his soul that gave life to Adam’s body. And it is our soul too which makes our body live. What happens at the moment of death? The soul separates itself from the body, which loses all life. This is why you will see your grandmother in the coffin, but she can no longer speak to you. She can no longer move and her eyes will remain closed. What you will see is the body of our dear grandmother. But know this, my little one, that her soul is not dead. It will never die. She will always love you and she remains near us. And if we love God, one day we will all be together in Heaven where nothing more will separate us.”

Since actions speak louder than words, take advantage of a visit to a cemetery to show the graves to the children. Thus your children will learn that one must be ready to go at any moment in life! The students in a Society school learned a profound lesson when one of their companions was called back to God. Martin, 5 years old, suffered from cancer and gave us a beautiful example of simplicity!

One day he said: “Mama told me that I would have less strength to fight against the cancer, and I told her that Holy Communion will give me this strength. How I do look forward to my first communion!”

“Martin, what will happen the day when you no longer have the strength to fight?”

Without showing any fear, he answered: “I will die!”

“It that serious?”

“No, it is necessary so as to go to Heaven!”

Another day, during a spiritual communion, instead of repeating the prayer that had been suggested for him, “Jesus, come into my heart!” he said,

“Jesus, come get me!”

Yes, maranatha: these are the last words of the New Testament: “Come Lord Jesus!”