My favourite image of the moment of death was described to me as such: Imagine – at the end of your life, as you stand before the gates of eternity, all that you have will be stripped away, leaving only your truest and final Self. “In the end, souls will stand naked before the judge. It no longer matters what they once were in history, but only what they are in truth.”
How terrifying and liberating, to replace the image of a cold set of scales, weighing up our good and bad deeds, evaluating us for what we have achieved in our years of life, with the penetrating gaze of an unconditional Lover who sees through that all that we do, and all that we own, to meet the person underneath it all. Our possessions will count for nothing, except insofar as they have made us loving or proud; our poverty will count for nothing, except insofar as they have cultivated gratitude or greed. Confronted by the hour of our death, it would no longer matter what we did or had in our lifetimes: it is about who we will be at the point of death.
To be able to think of this blessed hour as the prelude to a claiming of my truest self, rather than an eternity of regret for my countless transgressions, brings me immense hope. It makes me want to strive to cooperate with grace.