CCC 1010 Because of Christ, Christian death has a positive meaning: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”1 “The saying is sure: if we have died with him, we will also live with him.”2 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.3
1 Phil 1:21.
2 2 Tim 2:11.
3 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Rom.,6,1-2:Apostolic Fathers,II/2,217-220.