The Rabbi-Disciple Relationship: Part 5

The mark of a true disciple of Jesus: someone who dies differently. Jeff Cavins shows how a disciple rehearses his or her death on a daily basis by dying to themselves.

 

About the Author

Jeff Cavins

Jeff Cavins is the director of the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute in St. Paul, Minnesota. Over the past several years, he has dedicated his life to developing The Great Adventure, a practical, interactive Bible study system that enables students to understand the chronological flow of Sacred Scripture. Jeff holds an MA in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. He resides with his wife, Emily, and their three daughters in Minnesota.

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  • Adrian

    What an awesome idea – practicing death ! Although I have thought through this scene many a time in my recent past it has never occurred to me the need to practice it. I want to share with you my vision of death while it might be a personal one it may help you seek your own path. Quite some time back I had struggled with this one response in the novena made to the Mother of perpetual succor as I live in a parish which belongs to the redemptorists ” salvation of the dying ” I assumed that Jesus would be the one I would go to plead for my salvation how does approaching Mary help. Fr. Clement Campos our asst parish helped when he introduced me to what I have already been accustomed to praying in the Hail Mary and it all made sense ” pray for us sinners now and at the hour of my death ” ( we could all do with some prayers as we approach the hour of reckoning )

    The vision I have of my death is based on two beautiful hymns Blessed Assurance and Abide with me.

    ( in anticipation of beautification vision )
    Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
    Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
    Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
    Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

    Perfect submission, perfect delight,
    Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
    Angels, descending, bring from above
    Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

    Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
    the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
    When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
    Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

    Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
    shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
    Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
    in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

    Aren’t these lines beautiful and comforting when I shared this with my wife and kids they laughed it off as they found it premature for a fifty year old but hopefully I will be given the grace to enjoy these hymns at the appointed hour and now that Jeff has introduced us to this idea I will endeavor to practice.
    Look forward to your thoughts

  • Adrian

    What an awesome idea – practicing death ! Although I have thought through this scene many a time in my recent past it has never occurred to me the need to practice it. I want to share with you my vision of death while it might be a personal one it may help you seek your own path. Quite some time back I had struggled with this one response in the novena made to the Mother of perpetual succor as I live in a parish which belongs to the redemptorists ” salvation of the dying ” I assumed that Jesus would be the one I would go to plead for my salvation how does approaching Mary help. Fr. Clement Campos our asst parish helped when he introduced me to what I have already been accustomed to praying in the Hail Mary and it all made sense ” pray for us sinners now and at the hour of my death ” ( we could all do with some prayers as we approach the hour of reckoning )

    The vision I have of my death is based on two beautiful hymns Blessed Assurance and Abide with me.

    ( in anticipation of beatific vision )
    Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
    Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
    Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
    Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

    Perfect submission, perfect delight,
    Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
    Angels, descending, bring from above
    Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

    Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
    the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
    When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
    Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

    Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
    shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
    Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
    in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

    Aren’t these lines beautiful and comforting when I shared this with my wife and kids they laughed it off as they found it premature for a fifty year old but hopefully I will be given the grace to enjoy these hymns at the appointed hour and now that Jeff has introduced us to this idea I will endeavor to practice.
    Look forward to your thoughts

  • pnkyB4brain

    Am I prepared for death? At this present time, no. It seems that human issues, pride, fear of the unknown have presented road blocks in my quest to be with Our Savior in heaven.
    I never thought of the last phrase of the Hail Mary in the same context that you explained it. Thanks, Jeff for opening my eyes. I really like what you said about St. Paul saying that he died daily. Death is a serious thing that happens to us. If I reexamine why I need to give my all to Jesus every day, “practicing death” might be the catalyst that will correct my lackadaisical attitude when I choose to belong to Christ and when I want to take that power back.

  • Claire

    Thank you, Jeff, for being such an inspiring and devoted disciple of Christ. May the good Lord bless you and your family for the incredible work that you do. Know that you are impacting so many lives by helping us all to improve our walk each day. Many, many thanks.

  • Blah Blaah

    I suppose we’re afraid of death because it’s not natural for us. If I walk into a room and see someone eating breakfast, I don’t recoil in horror: eating is natural. If I walk into a room and see a husband kiss his wife and children, I don’t recoil in horror: physical affection is natural. If I walk into a room and see someone sleeping, I don’t recoil in horror: sleeping is natural. But if I walk into a room and encounter a corpse, I recoil in horror: death is unnatural. We weren’t created to die; we weren’t created for our bodies and souls to be separated. Adam was warned that if he transgressed, he would die – it wasn’t part of the original deal; it wasn’t part and parcel of human nature. Even Jesus sweated blood in the Garden at Gethsemane when he considered his suffering and death.

    I believe (as I learned from St Bonaventure) that my body and my soul were ‘made for each other’; that this body could not have any other soul, nor could any other soul have this body; that when this body dies, in a sense my soul will ‘long for’ this body or will ‘tend toward’ this body; that my soul won’t be complete until it is reunited with this body. (In other words, I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.) So yes, I recoil in horror at the thought of dying. But I know that the soul lives on; it does not die.

    So the whole idea of ‘dying’ doesn’t bother me much. I’m not all that attached to this world. What I have a problem with is what comes between life and death. If I’m going to ‘sweat blood’ over anything, it’s going to be the contemplation of a long, lingering, possibly painful death when I don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next; when I have to give up forever the idea that I will be healthy and in control of my body; when every day brings with it another pain, another limitation. It’s the whole, long, tedious, carrying-the-cross-to-Golgotha process that bothers me, not the actual ‘dying’ or ‘being dead’ part.

  • donna g

    So much food for thought today…Sometime during these past 4 years I realized, I’m no longer afraid to die. In fact my whole purpose in life has become, to gain eternal life. How did I get here? As a child I grew up with Bishop Sheen on TV in our home. I attended school taught by nuns and learned to love the Spiritual and Corporal works of mercy, as well as the Beatitudes. I grew up practicing and learning to serve and to let go but never appreciated it until I found myself facing many loses as an adult these past 4 years. I lost my husband to a brain tumor, my Mom to Alzheimer’s and her recent death. I sold our family business of 40 years. I faced changes in my relationships with my children, family and friends; I didn’t have the energy to continue with the jobs I loved and attend to my Mom’s care. Yet in all of this, I learned many lessons. One of the greatest, God was there when everything and everyone else left me. God was there showing me with His love and mercy, leading me to new people to serve, and new relationships with loved ones. I still die a little each day as I give up my way for His and the prize I seek is eternal life with Him.

  • AnneJenkins

    Bring it ON! People often look at me as if I am insane when I tell them I am ready to go at anytime and the sooner the better. Heh… I believe that heaven is a glorious place….that earth is a pain…. I have a good life here but compared to heaven…. it’s a bust. I used to feel as if I was betraying my family and friends by thinking this way until I realized that God can take care of them better than I can…. and I know if He calls me home , He will in fact provide for them….. so…..BRING IT ON! I am Glory bound….. OK…. but the other part…. dying to self…. well…..that is coming just a bit harder…. I do work on it daily and most of the time I do OK….not yet great ….but OK…. but as they say practice makes perfect….. so I keep practicing….

  • Jan

    Donna, I love your posting and I agree with so much of it. I too, attended Catholic school and learned so much about offering up my troubles or difficult chores to God. Living for others and not myself. Later in my life I began to question much about the Catholic Church and left it for awhile. I became worldly and felt a part of society. I was still searching for God and peace in my heart. I tried other denominations. They were fine but none of them felt as “at home” as the Catholic Church. Within the past couple years I have come back to the Church and am on fire for the Lord and Catholicism. I have that peace I was looking for. My lessons from my Catholic education are coming back to me and making me a stronger christian. I wouldn’t say I am afraid to die and leave this world. What I am afraid of though is the pain that might come with the death. I pray I can handle whatever happens.

  • Andy

    Interesting reflection about practicing dying from Fulton Sheen.

  • Carole

    I am ready for death. I believe that the life to come is the true life. But it’s true. Have I been practicing? What will people say about me at my death? Will I. E recalled as a disciple? I think I have a lot of work to do.