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February 2 | The Afterlife
Life is fleeting. In a moment we will all be gone. What do you think comes next? Based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church has always taught four things: Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell. Are you prepared to meet your Maker? And if you aren’t, who and what can prepare you?
Jesus is the answer to the who and what of this question. And few people in history have known this truth better than Saint Catherine de' Ricci.
As a young girl, she entered the Dominican convent in Pratovecchio and took the name Catherine, after her patron saint Catherine of Siena,
Among other amazing gifts, Catherine was a visionary. She experienced vivid and detailed visions of the afterlife—of Heaven and Hell. Her accounts of Heaven were filled with divine beauty and eternal peace, offering beautiful hope to those she counseled. Her visions of Hell served as reminders of the despair and pain of a life separated from Jesus, and an urgent call to prepare for death and judgment by directing one's life toward Heaven.
Catherine didn’t let these visions take her away from the here and now of this life. She was able to relate them to her fellow sisters and laypeople in accessible and relevant ways. And through it all, she grew closer to Jesus every day. She lived what her patron saint once said: “All the way to heaven is heaven, because Jesus said, 'I am the way.'"
Catherine did not let fear overtake her, however scary the prospect of death and judgment could seem. Instead, she lived a life of hope for Heaven, knowing that Jesus was with her to lovingly carry her from this world to the next when the time came.
May we all seek after Jesus like Saint Catherine de' Ricci, so that we too will have a heavenly transition from this world to the next when the time comes.
How often do I reflect on the reality of death? Am I determined to spend eternity with Jesus in Heaven?
I will grow closer to Jesus every day and live a life of hope for Heaven.
This reflection is brought to you from book title.
Patron Saint of: the Sick
Symbols: Religious Ring, Crown, or Crucifix
Feast Day: The Presentation of the Lord (February 2)
Feast Day Shared By: Saint Nicola Saggio of Longobardi
Canonized: June 29, 1746
Canonized By: Pope Benedict XIV
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