Moments of Mercy : Facing End of Life Decisions

moments-mercy-wind-tWhat could possibly be more stressful than facing the death of a loved one, or even anticipating our own passing? Faith teaches us so much; we are comforted in the assurances that we and our loved one will be with Christ in heaven, and this is a true blessing. We hope to be a deep witness to mercy and peace gained through our treasured personal relationship with Our Lord.  But what about the realities of the dying process? In our society, we relish control in life. We always strive to know what to do and how to do it. We make plans. We organize. We use our intellect and do research. For us, dying is a time when we know we are not in control. God is in control: His timeline, His manner, His journey. Often it’s not clear to us what to do. How do we approach this time in our or our loved one’s life? We are often physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted.

The Diocese of Raleigh has made available some resources to help us understand what our faith teaches. We can use these guides to support our loved ones, make wise decisions and be comforted knowing there is a framework and structure to accompany us on this journey. The parish is planning an in depth workshop on these resources in the New Year. Right now, you can access the documents at the diocesan website:

Catholic Advanced Directives –http://dioceseofraleigh.org/sites/default/files/files/ADFinalNovember.pdf
Comfort and Compassion: A Catholic Declaration on Life and Death –
http://dioceseofraleigh.org/sites/default/files/files/EndofLifeBooklet.pdf

Ask questions, have a discussion with family members and hash it out, but most of all pray on it. Death sometimes touches our lives at unexpected times; conversations don’t happen and we can only be reactive. We do the best we can in these situations to keep our bruised heart open to God. When we do have a sense of end of life issues approaching us, it is a thoughtful gift to have conversations. His mercy is present and grace abounds. Sure it’s hard work, but you’ve so much to gain being open with your loved ones. On a daily basis we teach our children and loved ones through the personal witness of a life based on faith. We can also learn about merciful love, forgiveness and redemption during the dying, too.