All Saints 2021: Precious In The Sight Of The Lord Is The Death Of His Saints.

All Saints 2021: Precious In The Sight Of The Lord Is The Death Of His Saints.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Psalms 116:15

This is one of the many comforting and blessed statements in Holy Scripture concerning that great event from which the flesh so much shrinks.

If the Lord's people would more frequently make a prayerful and believing study of what the Word says upon their departure out of this world, death would lose much, if not all, of its terrors for them.

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." These words tell us that a dying saint is an object of special notice unto the Lord. Especially mark the words "in the sight of." It is true that the eyes of the Lord are ever upon us, for He never slumbers nor sleeps. It is true that we may say at all times "Thou God seest me." But it appears from Scripture that there are occasions when He notices and cares for us in a special manner. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1). "When thou shalt pass through the waters, I will be with thee." (Isaiah 43:2). "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." This brings before us an aspect of death which is rarely considered by believers. It gives us what may be termed the Godward side of the subject. Only too often, we contemplate death, like most other things, from our side. The text tells us that from the viewpoint of Heaven the death of a saint is neither hideous nor horrible, tragic or terrible, but "precious." This raises the question, Why is the death of His people precious in the sight of the Lord? What is there in the last great crisis which is so dear unto Him? Without attempting an exhaustive reply, let us suggest one or two possible answers:

Their persons are precious to the Lord.

They ever were and always will be dear to Him. His saints! They were the ones on whom His love was set before the earth was formed or the heavens made. These are they for whose sakes He left His Home on high and whom He bought with His precious blood, cheerfully laying down His life for them.

These are they whose names are born on our great High Priest's breast and engraven on the palms of His hands.

They are His Father's love-gift to Him, His children, members of His body; therefore, everything that concerns them is precious in His sight. The Lord loves His people so intensely that the very hairs of their heads are numbered: the angels are sent forth to minister unto them; and because their persons are precious unto the Lord so also are their deaths.

 Because death is one step closer to terminating the saint's sorrows and sufferings.

There is a needs-be for our sufferings, for through much tribulation (whether here on earth or n purgatory, we must enter into the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).

Nevertheless, the Lord does not "afflict man willingly" (Lamentations 3:33). God is neither unmindful of nor indifferent to our trials and troubles. "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him" (Psalm 103:13). So also are we told that our great High Priest is "touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Hebrews 4:15). Here, then, may be another reason why the death of a saint is precious in the sight of the Lord.

Because death affords the Lord an opportunity to display His sufficiency.

It has been said thatLove is never so happy as when ministering to the needs of its cherished object, and never is the Saint of God so needy and so helpless as in the hour of death.” But man's extremity is God's opportunity. It is then that the Father says to His trembling child, "Fear not, for I am with thee: turn not aside, for I am thy God: I have and I will strengthened thee, and have and will help thee, and the right hand of my just one hath and will uphold thee."

(Isaiah 41:10). It is because of this that the Saint of God may confidently reply, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me."

Our very weakness appeals to His strength, our emergency to His sufficiency. Most blessedly is this principle illustrated in the words of Isaiah 40:11, "he shall gather together the lambs ( the helpless ones) with his arm, and shall take them up in his bosom ". His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Therefore is the death of the saints "precious" in His sight because it affords the Lord a blessed occasion for His love, grace and power to minister unto and undertake for His helpless people.

Because at death the saint is that much closer to going to the Lord.

The Church teaches that there is a communion of the saints, those Saints on earth, those Saints in purgatory and those Saints who are in heaven. All of us as saints will have there end in heaven. The Lord delights in having His people with Himself. How blessed is that word in Mark 3:14, "He ordained twelve, that they should be with him." And He is "the same yesterday and today and for ever." Therefore He has assured us, "And if I shall go, and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will take you to myself; that where I am, you also may be. " (John 14:3). Precious then is the death of the saints even if we must go through the fires of purgatory we have that the assurance that at the end of our tribulation we are "present with the Lord" (II Corinthians 5:8). While we are sorrowing over the removal of a saint, Christ is rejoicing. His prayer was "Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory" (John 17:24), and in the entrance into Heaven of each one of His own people, He sees an answer to that prayer and is glad. He beholds in each one that is freed from "this body of death" and freed from all the wood hay and stubble of their lives, ( I Corinthians 3:12) another portion of the reward for His travail of soul, and He is satisfied with it. Therefore the death of His saints is precious to the Lord, for it gives Him ground for rejoicing.

Dark and gloomy though death may be unto those whom the saint leaves behind, it is brightness "in the sight of the Lord": "in the time of the evening there shall be light." (Zechariah 14:7). Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.

When Catholics recognize that God is the goal of life, then all of life becomes a preparation for death. Death becomes a reality that is not only integrated and accepted into one’s life but embraced. In the lives of the saints, we can be inspired by the last moments of men and women who lived completely for God.

Even under the most painful and horrific circumstances, their dying words reveal a peace that can only come from knowing that they will soon see the One they lived for and loved so much.

Lastly let me share The last moments of three saints, as recounted by witnesses:

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Elizabeth did not try to hide from the doctor the overflowing delight that she felt because of her faith. The doctor was so astonished at her happiness that she tried to explain it to him by speaking in a moving way about how we as Christians are God’s children. After she finished speaking, tears flowed among many of her listeners. Exhausted by her efforts, she entered for the last time into her cherished silence. We only heard her murmur in a sort of chant: ‘I am going to the light, to love, to life!’ They were her last intelligible words.”

St. Francis of Assisi

Then, as the hour of his departure was fast approaching, Francis called all the brethren to him. He consoled them with words of comfort about his death, exhorting them with fatherly tenderness to love God.

He spoke for a long time about observing patience, and poverty, and fidelity to the Holy Roman Church . . . Then as all the brethren sat around him, he stretched his hands over them, crossing his arms in the likeness of the Cross, for he did always love that sign, and he blessed all the brethren, . . . Then as best he could, he broke forth into the words of [Psalm 141]: “I cried unto the Lord with my voice, with my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication,” and went through even unto the end, saying: “The righteous shall gather round me, for you shall deal generously with me.”

St. Bernadette

On Easter Tuesday, [Bernadette was very ill so] the chaplain suggested to her that she prepare to make the sacrifice of her life. “What sacrifice?” Bernadette answered, “it is no sacrifice to leave this life, where it is so difficult to belong to God.” On Easter Wednesday, she requested that her crucifix to be tied to her, in case her weakening fingers became unable to hold it. She gazed at a statue of Our Blessed Lady and said, “I have seen her. How beautiful she is, and how I long to go to her.” Sister Nathalie Portat came in at about three o’clock, and Bernadette requested, “Help me to thank God to the end.” Taking the crucifix, she prayed, “My God I love you, with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength.” Sister Nathalie began the Hail Mary. Bernadette answered clearly, “Mother of God, pray for me, poor sinner, poor sinner.” Now was the hour of her death, and like Jesus on the cross, she said, “I am thirsty.” The sisters brought some water. Bernadette made the Sign of the Cross for the last time as her Lady had taught her in the grotto. Silently she sipped a little water. Peacefully she bowed her head. Gently she surrendered her soul.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Psalms 116:15