Meditations on Death: Preparing for Eternity
For the Christian, the soul is immortal and there is eternal life to come after our death: heaven or hell. Our goal is heaven and nothing less. However, there is the mysterious door to eternal life which is death. The door of death is important for the Christian because of its finality. There are no more choices after death.
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A Three Part Reflection on The Joy of Death
Part I: Reflections on the Last Things
Part II: A Discourse in the Person of a Sinner About to Die
Part III: Canticles to Heaven
Why Focus on Death?
Thinking on death is the most profitable meditation we can make.
Indeed, Our Lord’s most holy passion and death offers us the greatest meditation, but pondering our own imminent death can bring us great fruit as it prepares us for the most important thing we will do: enter into eternity.
“Remember man that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
By meditating on their deaths, many have renounced this fleeting world for the monastery and cloister. By meditating on their deaths, many have conquered the flesh, the world, and the devil. By meditating on their deaths, many have climbed the ladder of holiness in a brief time.
To keep death daily before your eyes is one of the greatest secrets to sanctity, for death is the only certainty in this life. And those who ponder the hour of their death daily will not be surprised when that moment comes; rather, they will have prepared for it their entire lives and will be ready to meet their Creator.
In this soul-jarring work, Thomas à Kempis guides the reader to consider the last four things: death, judgment, heaven, and hell. One of the devil’s favorite words is tomorrow. But God’s is today. Meditations on Death is like a mini-retreat that will redirect your heart to eternal things rather than passing things. For to contemplate the hour of your death is to already have one foot in heaven.
First Time in English!
Meditations on Death is a part of the TAN Resurrection series; a new initiative focused on translating the works of the Saints into English for the very first time.
Meditations On Death Video Playlist
A New Initiative to Bring Catholic Books Back to Life!
Are you looking for Catholic books that are out of print or have never been published in English? TAN Books is excited to announce our new initiative, TAN Resurrection. This program will bring these great works back to life and make them available to modern readers.
The books in the TAN Resurrection collection were written by saints and great, holy people. They are free from modern divisiveness and full of words of truth for the soul who is striving for heaven. We hope that these books will inspire you on your journey to holiness.
A Note From Our Editor on Why Catholics Must Meditate Death
The Common Doctor of the Church states that even though the end of an action is last in the order of execution, it is first in the order of intention. (cf. S.T. I-II.1.1). In other words, the end comes first. For the modern secularist, death is the final end. There is nothing after death. It is the annihilation of the soul. For the Christian, the soul is immortal and there is eternal life to come after our death: heaven or hell. Our goal is heaven and nothing less. However, there is the mysterious door to eternal life which is death. The door of death is important for the Christian because of its finality. There are no more choices after death. The aspiring saint prepares for death in this life. To summarize the classic little text The Art of Dying Well, St. Robert Bellarmine concludes that the art of dying well is to live well!
So how do we live well with death in mind?
The key to much of the interior life is right order. Supernatural things have a higher place than temporal things. We should not just think about death like planning for a funeral but go deeper; we must meditate on death.
In the classic, The Spiritual Life, Fr. Adolphe Tanquerey states that meditation is discursive mental prayer which is “need[ed] to acquire convictions or to strengthen them.” He continues to state the effects and fruits of meditation.
- It detaches us from sin
- It makes us practice all the Christian virtues
- Initiates our union with God and even more, our transformation in Him."
(Tanquerey, The Spiritual Life. TAN Books, pg. 320-323)
Meditation involves sober cooperation with God’s grace to look at a particular aspect of the Faith and seek to see what God has revealed. This involves the mind, the will, the heart, and the imagination. We must do more than simply think about death; we must pray about death in meditation.
TAN Books wants to begin the year with the end in mind, not just any intermediate end but the Final End. The door of death is part of this journey, and we want to help you along this journey so that when you knock on that door, you are prepared.