This is by Saint Alphonsus De Liguroi:
“Death is not only the end of labor, but it is also the gate of life,” says St. Bernard. He who wishes to see God must necessarily pass through this gate. “This is the gate of the Lord, the just shall enter into it.” St. Jerome entreated death to open its gates to him. “Death, my sister, if you do not open the door to me, I cannot enter to enjoy my Lord.” Seeing in his house a picture which represented a skeleton with a scythe in the hand, St. Charles Borrmomeo sent for a painter and ordered him to erase the scythe, and to paint a golden key, in order that he might be more and more inflamed with a desire of death, which opens Paradise, and admits us to the vision of God.
“If,” says St. John Chrysostom, a king had prepared one of his subjects an apartments in his own palace, but for the present obliged him to live in a tent, how ardently would the vassal sigh for the day on which he should leave the tent to enter into the palace. In this life the soul, being in the body, is as it were confined in a prison, which it must leave in order to enter the celestial palace. Hence, David prayed to the Lord to bring his soul out of prison (Ps cxli, 8). When the holy Simeon held held the infant Jesus in his arms, he asked no other grace than to be delivered from the prison of the present life. “Now does thou dismiss thy servant. O Lord”(Lk 2:29) As if detained by necessity, he," says St. Ambrose, “begs to be dismissed.” The Apostle desired the same grace when he said: “I am straitened having a desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ” (Phil 1:23).
How great was the joy of the cup-bearer of Pharaoh when he heard from Joseph that he should soon be rescued from the prison and restored to his situation! And will not a soul that loved God exult with gladness at hearing that it will soon be released from the prison of this earth, and go to enjoy God? “While we are in the body, we are absent from the Lord” (2 Cor 5:6). While the soul is united to the body, it is at a distance from the vision of God, as if in a strange land, and excluded from a true country. Hence, according to St. Bruno, the departure of the soul from the body should not be called death, but the beginning of life.
Hence, the death of the saints is called their birthday; because at death they are born that that life of bliss which will never end. St. Athanasius says: “To the just, death is only passage to eternal life.” “Oh amiable death,” says St. Augustine, “who will not desire thee, who art the end of evils, the close of toils, the beginning of everlasting repose?” Hence the holy Doctor frequently prayed for death, that he might see God.
This is the first part of what this saint wrote on “The Death of the Just Is the Entrance to Life.” The second part is provided next. The length of both together is greater than the maximum length allowed for a post on this forum, so it is provided in two parts…
This is the second part of what this saint wrote on “The Death of the Just Is the Entrance to Life.”
"The sinner, as St, Cyprian says, has just reason to fear death; because he will pass from temporal to eternal death. But he who is in the state of grace, and hopes to pass from death to life, fears not death. In the life of St. John the Almoner, we read that a certain rich man recommended to the prayers of the saint, an only son, and gave the saint a large sum of money to be distributed in alms, for the purpose of obtaining from God a long life for his son. The son died soon after; but when the father complained of his death, God sent an angel to say to him, “You sought for your son a long life, now he enjoys eternal life in heaven.” This is, as was promised by the prophet Hosea, the grace which Jesus Christ merited for us. “O death, I shall be thy death” (Hos 13:41). By dying for us, Jesus has changed death into life. When Pionius, the martyr, was brought to the stake, he was asked by those who conducted him, how he could go to death with so much joy. “You err,” replied the saint: “I go not to death, but to life.” Thus, also, the mother of the youthful St. Smphorian exhorted him to martyrdom. “My son,” she said, “life is not taken away from you; it is only exchanged for a better one.”
This is a chapter, “The Death of the Just Is the Entrance to Life,” in Saint Alphonsus De Liguroi’s book, “Preparation for Death.” (In Grimm’s unabridged edition.)
This scripture came to mind…
The Destiny of the Righteous
But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God,
and no torment will ever touch them. In the eyes of the foolish
they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be
an affliction, and their going from us to be their destruction;
but they are at peace.
For though in the sight of men they were punished,
their hope is full of immortality. Having been disciplined a little,
they will receive great good, because
God tested them and found them worthy of himself
like gold in the furnace he tried them,
and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them.
In the time of their visitation they will shine forth,
and will run like sparks through the stubble.
They will govern nations and rule over peoples,
and the Lord will reign over them for ever.
Those who trust in him will understand truth,
and the faithful will abide with him in love,
because grace and mercy are upon his elect,
and he watches over his holy ones.
I love this one. Thanks for sharing. Indeed we are but temporary passengers in this fallen world, and hope for eternal life.
Thank you for posting these quotes from St. Alphonsus de Liguori. He’s one of my favorite spiritual writers.