A peaceful death, or longevity?

Eastern Orthodox icon depicting Christ enthroned in heaven, surrounded by the ranks of angels and saints. At the bottom is paradise with the Bosom of Abraham (left), and the penitent thief (right).

To depart and be with Christ, which is far better.

Philippians 1:23.

What will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

1 Peter 4:17.

It is said that Louis XI (1423-1483) was a roguish, cruel king. Towards the end of his life, he became increasingly worried and sought certain means of deferring death: forty sentries guarded his castle at Plessis-Les-Tours, as he feared, and not without reason, having been the victim of a revengeful attack. In addition, to prevent any fatal illness he was surrounded by a host of doctors. Finally, he sent to Italy for Francois de Paule, a Franciscan hermit said to be capable of prolonging life. The king promised him a large sum of money if he kept him in good health and assured him of a long life. This wise man, however, explained that God alone had the power to prolong life, and that it was much more important to die in peace than to live a long time.

Let us keep this precept in mind, for we fear that many people, like king Louis XI, dream rather of a lengthy life than of a peaceful end to it.

What does “a peaceful death” mean? Is it dying at home rather than in hospital? Passing away in one’s sleep without suffering and surrounded by loved ones? Not at all! It is dying at peace with God, going to Him without fear, not for being better than others, but because of believing in Jesus, the only Saviour. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may  die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25.26).

Image: By Anonymous, Greece – http://ikona.orthodoxy.ru/icon.php?source=source36/53, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3229269