CCC 1005 To rise with Christ, we must die with Christ: we must “be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”1 In that “departure” which is death the soul is separated from the body.2 It will be reunited with the body on the day of resurrection of the dead.3
CCC 1010 Because of Christ, Christian death has a positive meaning: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”4 “The saying is sure: if we have died with him, we will also live with him.”5 What is essentially new about Christian death is this: through Baptism, the Christian has already “died with Christ” sacramentally, in order to live a new life; and if we die in Christ’s grace, physical death completes this “dying with Christ” and so completes our incorporation into him in his redeeming act:
It is better for me to die in (eis) Christ Jesus than to reign over the ends of the earth. Him it is I seek – who died for us. Him it is I desire – who rose for us. I am on the point of giving birth. .. Let me receive pure light; when I shall have arrived there, then shall I be a man.6
CCC 1011 In death, God calls man to himself. Therefore the Christian can experience a desire for death like St. Paul’s: “My desire is to depart and be with Christ. ”7 He can transform his own death into an act of obedience and love towards the Father, after the example of Christ:8
My earthly desire has been crucified;. .. there is living water in me, water that murmurs and says within me: Come to the Father.9
I want to see God and, in order to see him, I must die.10
I am not dying; I am entering life.11
CCC 1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.12 The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul--a destiny which can be different for some and for others.13
CCC 1025 To live in heaven is “to be with Christ.” The elect live “in Christ,”14 but they retain, or rather find, their true identity, their own name.15
For life is to be with Christ; where Christ is, there is life, there is the kingdom.16
CCC 1692 The Symbol of the faith confesses the greatness of God’s gifts to man in his work of creation, and even more in redemption and sanctification. What faith confesses, the sacraments communicate: by the sacraments of rebirth, Christians have become “children of God,”17 “partakers of the divine nature.”18 Coming to see in the faith their new dignity, Christians are called to lead henceforth a life “worthy of the gospel of Christ.”19 They are made capable of doing so by the grace of Christ and the gifts of his Spirit, which they receive through the sacraments and through prayer.
CCC 1698 The first and last point of reference of this catechesis will always be Jesus Christ himself, who is “the way, and the truth, and the life.”20 It is by looking to him in faith that Christ’s faithful can hope that he himself fulfills his promises in them, and that, by loving him with the same love with which he has loved them, they may perform works in keeping with their dignity:
I ask you to consider that our Lord Jesus Christ is your true head, and that you are one of his members. He belongs to you as the head belongs to its members; all that is his is yours: his spirit, his heart, his body and soul, and all his faculties. You must make use of all these as of your own, to serve, praise, love, and glorify God. You belong to him, as members belong to their head. And so he longs for you to use all that is in you, as if it were his own, for the service and glory of the Father.21
For to me, to live is Christ.22
1 2 Cor 5:8.
2 Cf. Phil 1:23.
3 Cf. Paul VI, CPG § 28.
4 Phil 1:21.
5 2 Tim 2:11.
6 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Rom.,6,1-2:Apostolic Fathers,II/2,217-220.
7 Phil 1:23.
8 Cf. Lk 23:46.
9 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Rom.,6,1-2:Apostolic Fathers,II/2,223-224.
10 St. Teresa of Avila, Life, chap. 1.
11 St. Therese of Lisieux, The Last Conversations.
12 Cf. 2 Tim 1:9-10.
13 Cf. Lk 16:22; 23:43; Mt 16:26; 2 Cor 5:8; Phil 1:23; Heb 9:27; 12:23.
14 Phil 1:23; cf. Jn 14:3; 1 Thess 4:17.
15 Cf. Rev 2:17.
16 St. Ambrose, In Luc., 10, 121: PL 15, 1834A.
17 Jn 1:12; 1 Jn 3:1.
18 2 Pet 1:4.
19 Phil 1:27.
20 Jn 14:6.
21 St. John Eudes, Tract. de admirabili corde Jesu, 1, 5.
22 Phil 1:21.