Jesuit retreat center high on the bluffs of the Mississippi River in St. Louis, MO.  Since 1922, thousands of people from around the world make annual three-day silent, guided retreats here to relax, reconnect with God and strengthen their spirituality.  A true gem in the Midwest!  Call 314-416-6400 or 1-800-643-1003.  Email reservations@whretreat.org  7400 Christopher Rd.  St. Louis, MO 63129

Both men's and women's retreats are offered as well as recovery retreats.

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Weekend Reflections for June 15, 2018

For to Me to Live Is Christ, and to Die Is Gain

St. Paul’s Perspective on Dying

Once while I was visiting a dying Jesuit colleague he somewhat hesitantly shared with me that he was in fact looking forward to his death, being with Christ. I say hesitantly because of his concern that I might be dismayed, perhaps even scandalize by such a statement.  I was his religious superior at that time and I knew him fairly well. I was aware that he was very unhappy with many things going on in our world and in the Church.   Being with the Lord would be for him a welcomed conclusion and ending for all of this.  I simply and gently let him know that I knew where he was coming from and that his desire was quite appropriate.

A similar conversation took place recently with a retreatant.  He asked whether or not it was all right to want and desire death. This person was quite ill and suffering considerably. His family was taking good care of him, and he believed that his death would be more of a relief for them than anything else.  I assured him that in my opinion his desire for death seemed quite appropriate.

St. Paul addresses this matter in the second reading for this Sunday (II Corinthians 5, 6-10)  He tells the Corinthians of his desire to  move  on to new life with Christ.   His preference is to be with the Lord, but if he can do more for the kingdom by continuing his present work, then so be it. We find a similar sentiment in some of his other letters. In his letter to the Philippians(1, 21-24) he says:   ‘For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain….My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.  But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.’

Our faith in our risen Lord has (or can) freed us from terror of dying and opened for us the wonderful desire and hope to move on and be with him and with all our loved ones.