The secret to dying well, according to St. Robert Bellarmine

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As much as we may try to avoid or “cheat” death, prolonging our lives as much as possible, death will come knocking at our door soon enough. It is inescapable in this world and so the question is not if we will die, but how we will die.

Death is something that can come to us unexpectedly, but that does not mean that we can’t prepare for it. Many of the saints tried to live every day as if it were their last, and prepared for death daily. For them, death was always around the corner and they welcomed it with open arms.


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In a similar vein of thought, St. Robert Bellarmine wrote a book in 1619 on the Art of Dying Well. He details what he believed to be the key to preparing for death, not only when death is imminent, but most importantly when we are in good health.

Bellarmine reiterated a popular phrase that has been passed down throughout the centuries:

Thing - Death - Conversion - Sin - Yoke

He goes on to explain, “We must acknowledge that it is a most dangerous thing to deter till death our conversion from sin to virtue: far more happy are they who begin to carry the yoke of the Lord ‘from their youth,’ as Jeremiah said.”

We can not put off turning our lives around until we are old, but must begin doing so today. Bellarmine reiterates this fact by saying, “This first great truth now remains established, that a good death depends upon a good life.”

Bellarmine - World

Interestingly, Bellarmine goes on to explain that if we wish to die well, we must first die to the world.

That we may live well it is necessary, in the first place, that...
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