Marina Zhurinskaya about courage before death
For sure there will be someone who will indignantly exclaim: "Is this a Christian point of view? We well know that death follows the resurrection, so nothing terrible, and besides, tragedy is generally from the theater and thus unworthy of Christians. "
However, the experience of mankind, including humanity, enlightened by the light of the gospel, including our present and our neighbors, shows that death is very serious and terrible. And mortal torment is serious; this is a pain that can not be borne out. And it's hard for the soul to part with the body. And it is terrible to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10: 31), about which it will still be necessary to say. Perhaps, a Christian who is devoid of firm faith and hope (alas, this often happens), it is more difficult to die than an atheist adhering to his views. True, what do we know about the last minutes and even seconds of human life?
Those who fell to attend at the end of the soul from the body, they know that some secret hides the very moment of the transition - so much so that it is not wise to speculate about it.
We do not just pray for the Christian death, painless, shameless, peaceful, and not without reason, we note that such are honored the righteous. I would have thought about the death-hour (there are also prayer words about granting the memory of a mortal) - they would pray fervently.
As for the fact that the tragedy is from the theater, it is not in an empty place. People watch tragedies, empathize, cry for comfort, for the sake of softening the sense of tragedy of being. At one time, Aristotle created the concept of catharsis, purification, which is experienced by people who looked properly written tragedy. And the right one is the one that causes catharsis; in this sense, modern militants with the seas of the blood and the mountains of corpses are nothing more than the profanation of the theme of death, capable only of dulling, drowning, distorting the human experience of it. Yes, we are granted comfort in prayer, but it is also unquestionable that we need consolation. And even if we take into account that death means a new, better life for the deceased, it is nevertheless loss for loved ones. And for the deed, which the deceased served, his death may prove disastrous.
... The theme of the tragedy of being with special force is in the Gospel of Luke. Consider the corresponding place (chapters 12-13). After a series of parables, ending with a parable about what much is entrusted, they will be sought more (LX 12: 48) - in aggregate they can be defined as parables of responsibility - the Lord with power exclaims (item 49-50): Fire has come I will bring down to earth, and how I would have it kindled already! I must be baptized by baptism; and how I long for this! The fire here is the cleansing grace of the New Testament, but the fire is frightening, and it finds a response elsewhere in the New Testament Scripture: It's terrible to fall into the hands of the living God! (Heb. 10: 31). Already the verb itself falls into the picture of danger: fall into sin, into temptation, into perdition - and into the hands of the Lord.
But Christ, saying that he wants fire to kindle, that He is languishing, until His baptism is accomplished (and it is accomplished on the Cross), reveals the fullness of courage. However, the terrible power of mortal torments is such that the Lord Himself, the perfect God - but also the perfect man - prays for this cup to be turned away from Him if possible; and prays in mortal terror, before the bloody sweat, three times embarking on this prayer (this threefold prayer is said thrice - see Mt 26: 38-44; Mk 14: 33-41; LK 22: 41-44). So I'm afraid that the "optimistic" attitude towards death is an attempt to belittle the deed that the Sin of the world has taken upon itself - ours for the sake of salvation.
And at the beginning of the 13 chapter, the Savior is told about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate mixed with their victims. In response, He reminds those people who died when the tower of Siloam came down (there were 18), and claims that they were not more sinful than the rest in Jerusalem, but such sudden death (it is called a tragic death) can comprehend anyone who did not repent.
Let us consider: does Christ promise to those who repent, the guarantee of earthly immortality? It seems that He rather warns against death without repentance, because it can be the most tragic way to affect the posthumous fate, from what in the high poetry of Orthodox prayer is called to fall asleep in death.
In Christian culture, it is customary to distinguish whether a man repented before his death (this was called the Christian demise) or did not have time; for such it is necessary to pray strictly. In the "Divine Comedy", built extremely skillfully, so that the circles of hell have some parallels in the circles of purgatory and even paradise, two mercenary condottiere are opposed. Both led a rather unjust, to put it mildly, way of life and both found death in battle, but one of them - in hell, and the other, who exclaimed at the moment of death "Lord, have mercy" - in purgatory. Yes condottieri, when an example of the beneficialness of the near-death repentance is shown to us by a sensible robber (see LK 23: 40-43). And since his repentance was complete, he fell into paradise. And in the Russian usage of one of the most terrible oaths was: "Let me die without repentance!". And now what? And now the sudden death (church-gloating impudent) is highly valued - precisely for the fact that it makes it possible to avoid penitential thoughts.
Yes, even if not sudden ... I know a terrible case, when an old doctor died from an incurable disease, and knew perfectly well that he was dying, and asked to call a priest. His daughter, an elderly woman and also a doctor, refused to call her father, motivating her to say that the patient would lose the impetus to fight for life and would sooner die. What do not people just invent to avoid seeing the truth! And the truth is not only that the Lord created the world and rules it, but also that every person on the way to Him must look into the face of death. And do it courageously. And God gives courage, with whom it is necessary to meet in the latter.
The sacrament on earth - with the hope to meet Him in Heaven. He does not abolish the terrible transition (I dare to assume that because he wants a finite increase in the soul) - He strengthens man in faith and hope.
In the same way as the Angel strengthened Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane (see LK 22: 43).
On the screen saver: Giovanni Bellini. The Agony in the Garden. National London Gallery, 1460-5.