Most of us do not know when the Father calls us to Himself. The majority of people have no idea if the next heartbeat will be normal, or their last. Jesus knew when the hour had come (see John 13) and obedient to the Father, He continued on, eventually, to Golgotha and His death on the Cross.
As I am struggling this and last week, with the death of two friends, both close friends in different ways, this subject is very centered in my prayer life. I've thought about it a lot, and we know we must be obedient to the Lord when that hour comes.
One of these two I knew well, was the mother of a religous superior†. She had promised, so I had been told years ago, that she would offer her life and intentions to Jesus as a 'suffering soul'. In other words, she would offer her life's prayers in reparation for offenses to Jesus, to the Blessed Sacrament, and to the Cross. I've known only very few courageous people who make such a promise but having known her for many years, what she promised the Lord, she did well.
The other friend†, a close friend of mine, one I visited weekly and spent time with his family and 4-footed children (dog and cat), someone with whom I had much in common, passed on two days later, and although his death had been expected for 1-2 weeks, it still hit me very hard, as his passing was hard on his wife and family.
In the last five years there have been a number of people, friends, acquaintances, who passed and it is always hard for those who are left behind. Then, in a wider sense, there are deaths of nameless victims (e.g. airplane disasters, land slides, and so on), people whom we do not know personally, but whose lives are discussed in various ways by the media. Unintentionally, often, in a callous and disrespectful way.
All life is Sacred, and just because we do not personally know the decedent, that doesn't mean that all details of their lives are to be used in meaningless banter. The family of the deceased merit our utmost respect and consideration.
Revelation tells us, in Scripture, that Jesus knew when His time had come. Let us prepare by repenting our sins and shortcomings, so that we will always be ready for that specific time that will bring us from life to death. For those raised as Christians, and many others, we hope that this passing will be in peace and that we may enjoy eternal rest when the hour has come.
F. S. Schaeffer, ofs
† Keeping the identity of my two friends private for the sake of the remaining family members, in their grief.