Dear Father Angelo,
My name is Antonio, I am writing to you because in these last three years, I continue to live in a state of anguish and much fear.
Rightly you may ask me: “But with such a good and merciful God, what are you afraid of?”.
Well, Father Angelo, I will immediately explain in detail. My greatest fear is death! But not as an event, because I am very conscious of this event that will come to knock on my heart too. Death scares me a lot as a passage, in the sense that I do not know exactly the future destination that will wait for me (damnation or salvation). I tell you the pure truth, I pray very little and sin very much, but on the other hand in the last three years, I confess almost every week and do a lot of works of charity especially helping my family and people who ask me for help in some of their favor. I no longer know what to do to free myself from this anguish that nags me and above all what I must do to have salvation to go to Heaven. I know that you are very kind so I only ask you to help me by giving me some useful advice to be able to advance on the way to my salvation, at least so I can find my smile to live at least a little bit in peace. I don’t know if my few prayers are enough to save myself, but I trust very much in your professionalism as a priest and above all I give you my total trust in the moral help that you would kindly give me.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your invaluable help, I greet you with cordiality wishing you much peace, joy and serenity in your heart.
Goodbye from Antonio!!!
1. It is true what you say.
Death is instinctively scary. Inexorably it comes. However, if it were only physical death, one could hope that it will come and take us in our sleep when we don’t even notice it. It would really be euthanasia, which literally means “good death”.
2. What is scary, and – I confess it to you, it is also my fear – is what comes next, and that is God’s judgment and eternal destination. Certainly, I trust in the mercy of the Lord, in the merits of Jesus, in the assistance of the Blessed Virgin. There is an alternation of feelings towards death.
At times I think of death as always being with the Lord and with the inhabitants of Paradise. In those moments death does not frighten me. But there are others in which I cannot forget what Sacred Scripture says: “For we must all appear before the tribunal of Christ, in order to receive the reward of the works done when he was in the body, both good and evil” (2 Cor 5:10).
When I think of Jesus who said at the Last Supper: “When I was with them, I kept them in your name, what you gave me, and I kept them, and none of them was lost, except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (Jn 17:12) and I wonder if I too have done what the Lord
entrusted me to do, I am convinced that I am very much in default.
So I ask myself: what will I say to the Lord when He asks me if I have kept for eternal life those He has given me?
Certain expressions of the Dies irae (sequence of the Mass from dead) I feel them just made for me: “How much terror will come when the judge will come to judge everything severely. (…)
The written book in which everything is contained will be presented, from which the world will be judged. And so when the judge sits down, everything hidden will be revealed, nothing will go unpunished. At that moment what will I be able to say, wretch, who will I call to defend myself, when barely the righteous can be said to be safe?
3. I think of Mons. Maggiolini Bishop of Como, who died of cancer.
They had asked him if he was afraid of death. He had answered: “Of death as such, no; but I fear that immediately afterwards the Lord will present me with an account that I did not know I have.
4. Coming now to your question, what should we do so that we can think about that moment with greater serenity?
We must multiply the acts of charity. Saint Peter says: “Above all, keep fervent charity among yourselves, for charity covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet 4:8). Before him, Our Lord had recommended that many alms be given for the precise purpose of making the poor speak well of us before God when we come before Him: “Well, I say to you, make friends with dishonest wealth, that when it is lacking they may welcome you into eternal dwellings” (Lk 16:9).
5. There is not only charity made with alms. Not always and not everyone has the means. Above all, there is the charity of daily life in our relationships with everyone, that charity of which the Holy Spirit says through the mouth of Paul that “she is magnanimous, benevolent, not envious, not boastful, not swollen with pride, not lacking in respect, not seeking her own interest, not angry, not taking into account the evil received, not enjoying injustice but rejoicing in the truth.
Everything excuses, everything believes, everything hopes, everything endures” (1 Cor 13:5-7).
6. We will look at that moment with less fear if we make an effort to put the Lord’s words into practice: “Give and it will be given to you; a good measure, pressed, shaken and overflowing will be poured into your womb, because with the measure with which you measure, it will be measured to you in return” (Lk 6:38). Our generosity towards others will inspire confidence that the Lord will be generous with us in granting us His mercy.
I wish you all the best, I will keep you in my prayers to the Lord and I bless you.