What Is a “Happy Death?”
In the Catholic church, “a happy death” refers to dying in a state of grace with God, without bitterness or anger, if possible. Ideally, a happy death would follow a happy life.
A death that comes in a joyful context rather than a tragic or unforeseen manner has something to recommend it. The promise of a happy death, should you be fortunate enough to get one, includes cashing in your life without regrets, without fear, and with a sense of peace. That would be a best-case scenario for pretty much anyone, whatever faith/belief system/philosophy we follow.
Maybe such lotto-winnings-level bliss is rarely visited upon us as we depart this life, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still prepare ourselves in the manner that this particular teaching encourages. Why wouldn’t you seek to be terms of acceptance with the ultimate unavoidable, irrefutable eventuality?
That’s really not the kind of transaction you want to come up against with fear, and without preparation.
Joyfully Dead, Hurrah!
One of the natural results of living according to Catholic teachings, says that Church, is possessing joy that comes from faith. Joy that comes from living life in a way that brings one closer to God every day. Joy from living in a way that you measure by standards given to you by the Church/disciples/Jesus Himself.
Whatever your impression of the Catholic church, I don’t believe anyone among us wouldn’t agree that it’s a good way to go. Possessing that sense of respect of and satisfaction with one’s own choices? Yes, please. The resulting life that follows such a life would be a good way to meet one’s death.
Once you do come upon your own death, if you’re happy with the life you’ve lived, such a state of “happiness” would come with your death should be a condition of the heart, and not depend on circumstances.
An Easy, Painless, Perfect Death in Your Sleep!
Okay, not exactly. A person fortunate enough to die a Catholic “happy death” still isn’t necessarily immune to fear or anxiety or sadness at the prospect of disengaging from all that they’ve known as they move into the unknown. But because of faith, one may expect to receive peaceful comfort at that moment.
The Church actually places an emphasis upon praying for this type of demise, enough to make it a priority of one’s prayer life. It is presented in several ways in the Bible as a petition worthy of specific focus, particularly in The Catholic Catechism. In the prayer known as “The litany of saints,” for instance, the following is included: ‘From a sudden and unforeseen death, deliver us, O Lord’. Payers to Jesus’s mother, Mary, include the petition “pray for us at the hour of our death.”
And prayers to Joseph, Jesus’s father, are also encouraged. Joseph is known as the Patron of Happy Death. By his example of having lived a life obedient to God caring for Mary, Jesus’s mother, and for Jesus, it’s said that Joseph led a life blessed by God. At the moment of his death, Jesus and Mary were at his side; “his holy death reflected his holy life.”
That sounds pretty good to me.