Mystery of Death and Beyond, The

Paper $17
128 pages, 5½" x 8½", bibliography, introduction, notes

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Mystery of Death and Beyond, The

Baker, Kenneth, S.J.

The purpose of this little book is to answer certain questions that many people have about the nature of death. Most people feel that there is something wrong about death. We all want to live a happy life and we do not want to die. Life is experienced as something very good and we want to preserve it. But the reality is that man is by nature mortal, which means that he is destined to die sooner or later. The fact is that we begin to die the moment we are conceived in our mother’s womb.

Man is unlike all other animals, because he has a soul endowed with intelligence and free will. Because man’s soul is spiritual, it is immortal. Death is the separation of that soul from the body; the body decays and returns to the dust from which it was taken, but the soul continues to live and is in the hands of God. But what happens to the soul after death? There are two possibilities—heaven or hell. We know from divine revelation and from the infallible teaching of the Church that the soul after death goes immediately to heaven (perhaps first for a time to purgatory to be totally cleansed and sanctified), or immediately to hell, a state or place of eternal misery.

The next life is a life without time—it is a perpetual now, with no before and after. It has a beginning but not end. It is also unchangeable, that is, souls in heaven are there forever and they cannot lose it; souls in hell are there forever and they can never be freed from it.

This is a very serious and certain reality for each one of us. The most important thing we will ever do is to die, and to die in the state of God’s grace so that we are his friends and will be admitted to his presence, which is what is meant by heaven. Therefore we must prepare ourselves to die in the grace of God, which is our ticket to heaven. We do that by doing God’s will for us, which means to keep his commandments, especially to love God above all things and practice love of neighbor.

This short book will help people think about their death and how important it is for their permanent happiness. It will help them to arrange their life in such a way that they will live it as God wants them to live it and so ultimately obtain eternal life with God because: “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has
prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).