Monday, January 16, 2012

Is it a sin to fear death?

Q - Is it a sin to fear death?

A -
Thanks for the question. The simple answer is no. Fear is an emotional response to a situation. There is no sin in feeling a certain way. Even Jesus feared the suffering that he was to undergo and the death he was to have. We see this when he asks His Father to take the cup from him.

But, we should also follow Christ's example when he abandons himself to the Father's will. Fear can lead to sin, when we allow it to rule our lives. For example, if out of fear, we failed to act in a way that justice or love demanded of us, then we have sinned.

So, the feeling itself isn't sinful, but can lead to sin if we do what we ought not do or don't do what we ought. (For more - here is St. Thomas Aquinas take on fear and sin.)

On a slightly different note, while it is quite natural to have somewhat of a fear of the unknown, this is where we need to develop the virtue of hope. We should pray for God to increase hope in us and then do our best to hope in God's loving providence. He is in control and our hope must be anchored in the mystery of the Resurrection.

Through sin, death entered the world. Through Christ dying and rising again, He conquered death. We participate in this act of salvation through believing in Christ's grace for us and that we will one day be with Him forever in heaven.

May the hope of Christ bring us beyond our fears!
"'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord henceforth'. "Blessed indeed', says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labours, for their deeds follow them!'" (Rv 14:13).


Amanda Borenstadt said...

Beautifully answered. :)
I love this blog. What a treasure.

Gert said...

I am afraid of death. I can only pray that God gives me the grace to face my fear when he calls me.

Justin Michael Schwartzbeck said...

I recently had a close encounter with death that caused me to have a significantly greater appreciation for my own life. I am thankful for the days I have been given, and will be given, and I don't count them as if they are owed to me in any way. I think this is why I am not afraid of death, because I am happy enough being alive that I don't worry so much about when I won't be. I also happen to be young and healthy, but that's beside the point.

Gert said...

When was the original date of this post? I posted the above comment, but it has been quite a while I think. Odd thing is, after my original post, I was diagnosed with Leukemia. I spent the better part of a year thinking that death was surely right around the corner. And though none of us can rule out the possibility we will die tomorrow, being diagnosed with a deadly disease really puts a focus on death and what our life so far has been. I was extremely lucky as my oldest brother was a match for a stem cell transplant, and a year after my transplant, I am cancer free.

I am still afraid of death, and can only pray for the grace to face my fears as in the past.