death and adrienne
I was thinking about death lately because I recently taught a graduate Eschatology course and came to this Woody Allen quotation: “It's not that I'm afraid to die it’s just that I don't want to be there when it happens” (Without Feathers, p. 99)
I was also thinking about several people who have died in my life recently and came to this quotation from Adrienne: “Death is God’s invention that finally prevents the sinner from resisting His grace” (Lumina, p. 59)
Yes, in theology, irresistible grace in its Calvinist version and efficient grace in its Catholic version have been isolated to a few select theological niches. Yet, here Adrienne reminds us that death, as an allowed intervention by God to his irresistible, efficient grace, confronts us to his potent, unavoidable presence. It is like the unavoidable presence of a parent extending his arm to his child and says, “Hold my hand.” What child will not accept that invitation? Why do we not see death as the Father extending his arm and saying to the new dead one, “Hold my hand.” Certainly, in death there will be no other hand to hold.
Yes, Woody Allen is right that one should not fear death because as Adrienne says,
“To fear death means to shift it completely into the temporal and to forget the power of the sacraments that ferry us over to the other side, that prepare and purify us. To know death, by contrast, means to know that God remains the eternal giver and that out of a kind of yearning He already uses the moment we pass over to manifest His presence more clearly” (Lumina, p. 60).