Monday, 22 December 2014

On Not Lying to the Dying

I have just listened to a fascinating TED talk about dying.

The speaker, Matthew O'Reilly, is a veteran paramedic first responder, and draws on his own experience of comforting many critically injured people in their last minutes.

He admits that he used to be scared of being honest with them about their impending death and would not tell them the truth; and he relates the experience which changed his approach, and led him to conclude that 'it was not my place to comfort the dying with my lies'.

Of course, as Christians, it is vital that we are told we are dying, if that is the case, so that we can prepare ourselves with an Act of Contrition and other prayers.

What really caught my attention, though, is that even for people of no faith, there are three things that concern them in their final moments. Here they are in Matthew O'Reilly's words:

'a need for forgiveness,' 
'a need for remembrance... a need for immortality within the hearts and thoughts of their loved ones, myself, my crew, or anyone around'
'[a] need to know that their life had meaning.'

Christmas is the Feast that speaks of God's desire to forgive us, no matter what the cost, His desire to share our mortality, and to share his immortality with us, and above all His gift of new life that gives meaning to our lives.

Pray for the dying at this great feast of the Birth.

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