In his daily homily, Pope Francis reflected on the moment of our death, remarking on the beauty of dying in unity with the Church and inviting the faithful to reflect on what legacy they will leave behind.
“Trusting God begins now, in the small things in life, but also in great problems: always trusting the Lord! And so one makes this habit of trusting in the Lord and hope grows. To die at home, to die in hope,” the Pope said in his Feb. 6 daily Mass.
Using the scene of David's death in the first reading, taken from the First Book of Samuel, Pope Francis highlighted how the king spent his life in the service of his people, and that when he dies, he does so “within his people.”
Although David calls himself a “sinner,” the pontiff noted that “he never left the People of God,” saying that he was a “sinner yes,” but a “traitor no!”
The Pope emphasized that “this is a grace: to remain until the end in the People of God. To have the grace to die within the Church, precisely within the People of God.”
Touching on three points, the Pope said that the first is “for us to ask for the grace to die at home. To die at home, in the Church,” adding that “this is a grace! This cannot be purchased!”
Dying “at home, in the Church” is a gift that we should ask for, the pontiff observed, saying that “all of us are!” are sinners, “But traitors no! Corrupt no!”
Picturing the Church as a mother, the Pope emphasized that although we are “many times dirty,” the Church “cleans us: she is mother!”
Recalling how David dies in a “quiet, peaceful, serene” way with the certainty of going “on the other side with his fathers,” the pontiff noted that a second grace we receive is to die in hope, knowing that “on the other side” our home and our family continues, and that we are not alone.
“And this is” also “a grace that we should request” he continued, “because in the last moments of life” we know that it’s a struggle, “and the spirit of evil wants the loot.”
Calling to mind how Saint Therese of Liseaux experienced a voice in the final moments of her life telling her “don't be foolish waiting in the dark. You expect only the darkness of nothing!” the Pope noted that “the voice of the devil, of the demon…did not want her to trust God.”
Observing that to “die in hope and to die relying on God” is a grace we should ask for, the pontiff emphasized that “trusting God begins now, in the small things in life, but also in great problems.”
Turning his thoughts to David’s heritage of “40 years of government,” and of a people “consolidated” and “strong,” the Pope recalled a proverb which states that every man should leave behind a child, plant a tree, and write a book, saying that “this is the best heritage!”
He then asked those present, “What legacy have I left to those who come after me? A legacy of life? Have I done so much good that people want me as a father or mother? Have I planted a tree? Have I given my life, wisdom? Have I written a book?”
“This is the legacy,” said the Pope, “and our testimony as Christians left to the others,” highlighting also that some of us, “the Saints” who “have lived the Gospel with such force,” leave a “great legacy” behind.
Concluding his reflections, the pontiff repeated that “the three things that come to my heart from reading this passage on the death of David” are “to ask for the grace to die at home, in the Church; to ask for the grace to die in hope, with hope; to ask for the grace of leaving a beautiful legacy, a human legacy, a legacy made with the testimony of our Christian life.”
Invoking the intercession of the kind, the pontiff prayed that “Saint David grant us all these three graces!”