When we die we lose everything that the world has and gives, such as honors, dignities, money, real estate, pleasures, and enjoyments. Whatever a man may be here on earth, after his death he is no longer what he was in life; with the last breath all difference of station ceases, and the mightiest autocrat is no more than the humble laborer in his hut. Death places all on a common level, never discriminates, but makes all alike. And just as honors and dignities fade into nothingness, so also money and real estate disappear in death. If you should possess the most elegant mansion, the best and largest tract of land, and money by millions, and be engaged in a most lucrative business, you cannot take a cent's worth of all these goods with you into eternity. The same may be said of earthy pleasures and joys: with death they dissolve like soap-bubbles and even the body that enjoyed them falls into dust.
To the worldling such losses are cause for much grieving and sorrow because they have loved and used these things inordinately and placed all their happiness in their use. But, for he who loves God he has refused to place his felicity in the things of this earth. Their loss does not bring forth sorrow or regret. He has never lived for these things and has always known that the time of separation must come and he is willing and even eager to let go of all the things of this earth.
Those who love God follow the admonition of St. Paul: "Brethren, the time is short; it remaineth, that they also who have wives, be as if they had none; and they that weep as though they wept not, and they that rejoice, as if they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use the world, as if they used it not; for the fashion of the this world passesth away." These words of Christ's also are constantly before the minds of those who love Him: "What doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?"
When we die we also lose a life that is full of dangers to salvation. There are no more temptations, and no more risks of ever offending God again. Death brings an end to the struggles and dangers to our salvation. For the just man death also brings to an end a life of tribulations and sufferings. Therefore the just rejoice when they die, because in death they lose nothing but a miserable life connected with countless dangers and trials. For those just who have led lives of innocence or have done penance for their sins they will find in death all that they ever hoped for and more. They will find the eternal vision of the Blessed Trinity. "Blessed are the clean of heart for they shall see God."
They will find in Heaven Mary, the mother of God; the Angels and Saints, and especially many relatives and acquaintances. Oh with what joy will they not be saluted at their entrance into heaven by the Blessed, with what love will they not be embraced! And how unspeakably happy will they not esteem themselves, for now they can live in the company of the angels and saints, who love them and live with them in undisturbed peace!
They will find unspeakable joy. St. Augustine says: "The felicity of heaven can be acquired, but never estimated; it can be merited, but not described." And St. Paul says: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love Him. And these joys will last forever.
This is how pious Catholics die. To them the words of the Holy Ghost apply: "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord." Yes, they are blessed, whether we look at what they lose, or at what they find. We all must certainly wish to have a holy and happy end, to die a good death. Well, then, let us lead a good life; for a good life is inevitably followed by a good death. We must do what is required for a good death. Guard against every injustice and sin; and if we have sinned, bring forth fruits worthy of penance. Stand firm in the Lord, cling to the Catholic faith, and serve God with immutable fidelity all the days of our lives, and then we may confidently hope that our last hour will be the happiest of our whole life, for we will die the death of the just.