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St. Thomas Aquinas says hope in the resurrection of Jesus is beneficial in four ways: it takes away the sorrow which we feel for the departed, it takes away the fear of death, it makes us watchful and careful to live uprightly, and it withdraws us from evil.


Concerning the first, our faith and hope in the resurrection is beneficial in four ways. Firstly, it takes away the sorrow which we feel for the departed. It is impossible for one not to grieve over the death of a relative or friend; but the hope that such a one will rise again greatly tempers the pain of parting: “And we will not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that are asleep, that you be not sorrowful, even as others who have no hope.”[3]

Secondly, it takes away the fear of death. If one does not hope in another and better life after death, then without doubt one is greatly in fear of death and would willingly commit any crime rather than suffer death. But because we believe in another life which will be ours after death, we do not fear death, nor would we do anything wrong through fear of it: “That, through death He might destroy him who had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil. And might deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject of servitude.”[4]

Thirdly, it makes us watchful and careful to live uprightly. If, however, this life in which we live were all, we would not have this great incentive to live well, for whatever we do would be of little importance, since it would be regulated not by eternity, but by brief, determined time. But we believe that we shall receive eternal rewards in the resurrection for whatsoever we do here. Hence, we are anxious to do good: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”[5]

Finally, it withdraws us from evil. Just as the hope of reward urges us to do good, so also the fear of punishment, which we believe is reserved for wicked deeds, keeps us from evil: “But they that have done good things shall come forth unto the resurrection of life; but they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.”[6]

3. I Thess., iv. 12.

4. Heb., ii. 14.

5. I Cor., xv. 19.

6. John, v. 29

From The Catechism of St. Thomas Aquinas-ELEVENTH ARTICLE: “The Resurrection of the Body.”