“For a Christian, life is changed, not ended.” This beautiful prayer is recited in every Funeral Mass to help us keep our mind on the reality of what death is about.
When we were in the womb, we spent nine months in safety and security, our bodies developing and growing so that we’d be ready for the outside world. If unborn children could talk, they would probably want to stay where they are — close to their mother’s heart, hearing her voice, nice and warm. But the entire point of being unborn is to prepare for the outside world – the womb was never the point! No one can stay there forever, and no one should want to!
In the same way, the 70 or 80 years we are granted in this world is for the development and growth of our souls. Just as our bodies developed in the womb, our souls develop in this life. Just as we were surrounded by warmth and comfort in the womb, we are surrounded by many material blessings in this life. But just as the womb was never our final home, so this world is never our final home either. Someday we will be born into eternity — either as an everlasting glory or an everlasting tragedy. But no one can stay on this earth forever, and no one should want to!
The difference between pregnancy and this life, however, is that we participate actively in the growth of our souls. It isn’t automatic. We allow His grace to help us grow so much into His likeness so that we will be ready, with the eyes of faith, to see His glory face-to-face.