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For most people, death is preceded by the dying process. This involves suffering of many sorts: physical pain, emotional struggles, family burdens…and fear. Fear of worsening pain, of losing control, of depending on others, of being a burden.
None of these things lessens our human dignity in the eyes of God, nor should they in each other’s eyes. Jesus Christ has shown us that our suffering has profound meaning when united to Him, as does our caring for the afflicted.
This Holy Hour, with an Imprimatur from Bishop Robert McManus, is to pray for those who are suffering near death, for the caregivers bringing comfort, and for all people to look upon each other as God looks upon us–with immeasurable value regardless of our frailty or brokenness.
We may forego or withdraw treatment that is burdensome, even if that may shorten our lives, but never will we do so for the explicit purpose of killing ourselves. Let us pray that those suffering may not be tempted to do so, nor those who care for them be tempted to counsel them so.