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A Happy Death
When Saint John Bosco founded the Salesian order, he recommended a practice called “Exercise for a Happy Death.”
One day each month, every member of the order was to treat the day as if it was their last — saying their prayers, making a good confession, and celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass like it was the last time they could perform such acts.
The purpose of the exercise is to help us to remember our death — memento mori — and to detach ourselves from the things of this world, shifting our gaze to the next.
The exercise helps us to keep a broader perspective. Death comes for us all, but very few are “ready” for when that happens.
But, by living our days, months, and years ordered toward God, relentlessly pursuing Him, death becomes the final checkpoint on our journey. Death is the last thing between us and our goal of Heaven.
God willing, we will all have a peaceful death at an old age, and with Saint Paul we can say: “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)