A friend of mine passed away a few days ago. He was 49 years old, married with three young children. He died within some 6 weeks of a diagnosis of cancer. Death is something that all humans must face at some point in time. This includes our death and the death of people we love.

I want to address how someone responds in prayer to the reality of death: hope.
An understanding of hope first is necessary before praying with it or for it. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. (#1817)

We were created to know God and love God for all eternity. Hope is our deepest desire that our relationship with God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is an eternal relationship. The Catechism contains a beautiful prayer from St. Teresa of Avila about hope and death:

Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long one. Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end. (CCC #1821)

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