During morning Mass today, Pope Francis reflected on the death of King David, inviting the faithful to ask for three graces: to die within the Church, to die with hope and to leave an inheritance of Christian witness.
Regarding the first of these graces, the Holy Father said that David died “within the womb of his people”. Despite his sins in life, David was never far from the chosen people of God. This example, he said, is one that we should follow.
“Sinners, yes, traitors no!” the Pope exclaimed. “And this is a grace: to remain till the end in the People of God. To have the grace of dying in the womb of the Church, within the womb of the People of God. And this is the first point that I wish to underline. Also for us to ask for the grace to die at home. To die at home, in the Church – this is a grace! This cannot be bought! It is a gift from God and we should ask Him: ‘Lord, give me the gift of dying at home, in the Church!’ Sinners yes, all of us, we all are! But traitors no! Corrupt no! … And the Church is such a mother that She wants us even like that, many times dirty, but the Church cleans us: She is a mother!”
The Pope continued his reflection on the second grace: to die with hope. This hope is knowing that after death, something is awaiting us. This, he said, is a grace we should all ask for.
“Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus said that, in her last moments, in her soul there was a struggle and when she thought of the future, to what was waiting for her after death, in heaven, she heard a voice say: ‘But no, don’t be silly, darkness awaits you. The darkness of nothing is only waiting for you!’”, he recalled.
“It is the voice of the devil, of the demon, that did not want her to entrust herself to God. To die with hope and to die entrusting yourself to God! And to ask for this grace. But to entrust yourself to God begins now, in the small things in life, even in the big problems: entrust yourself always to the Lord! By getting into the habit of entrusting yourself to the Lord, hope grows. To die at home, to die with hope.”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis said that a lasting inheritance of Christian witness is the final grace we should ask for.
“Take courage and be a man. Keep the mandate of the Lord, your God, following his ways,” David said to his son Solomon before his death. The Holy Father stressed that this witness of Christian life is the inheritance left to us all by the Saints.
“Those are the three things that come to my heart when reading this passage on the death of David: ask for the grace to die at home, to die within the Church. Ask for the grace to die in hope, with hope, and ask for the grace to leave a beautiful inheritance, a human inheritance, an inheritance made with the witness of our Christian life. May Saint David give to all of us these three graces!” the Pope concluded. (J.A.E.)