Published: 2021-12-301

The Christian Attitude Toward Physical Death Based on Gregory the Great’s Homilies on the Gospels

Paweł Bielecki

Abstract

Man is the only earthly creature who is aware of himself and of the inevi- tability of his death. Death, as a mystery and inescapable reality, has always been the subject of reflection and research. Popes have also discussed this issue in their teaching.

The aim of the article is to present human attitudes toward death in Gregory the Great’s homilies from the fifth and sixth centuries. A textual analysis of these homilies reveals that man should prepare himself for death in such a way that death arouses not fear, but rather joyful entrustment to God. Gregory’s homilies also convey that the decisions that a person makes throughout his lifetime have a powerful impact on the moment of his death. Pope Gregory demonstrates the interdependence of the free decision that man makes at the moment of death and the gift of eternal life with God. The pope proclaims that if someone lives a sinful life, then evil spirits will fight for his soul at the moment of his death. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to put one’s life in order before death and to be safeguarded by the prayer of the community of the Church at the moment of death.

Keywords:

death, dying, Gregory the Great, fear of death, preparation for death

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Citation rules

Bielecki, P. (2021). The Christian Attitude Toward Physical Death Based on Gregory the Great’s Homilies on the Gospels. Rocznik Teologii Katolickiej, 20, 177–190. Retrieved from https://rtk.uwb.edu.pl/index.php/rtk/article/view/3

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