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As human beings, we're used to thinking almost exclusively about the world around us.
We have our immediate world with its needs, like bodily necessities, our homes and our families. It's easy to get tied up with the physical things of this world and forget that as we are a unity of body and a rational soul. The battle that rages inside and outside of us is also a spiritual battle, and it's not just persons and things of this world we must contend with.
Our bodies grow, change and eventually die. But when our bodies are going back to the dust from which they came, our souls will live on. And they will not live on for a moment, or even for a million years. They'll go on forever.
Eternity is unfathomable for us because we live in a world where, no matter what happens, time keeps passing — it slips through our fingers as we grasp at it. In the Latin form of the "Glory Be" prayer, the end goes "in saecula saeculorum," meaning "for ages of ages." That's one way for our limited intellects to understand eternity.
The Church teaches that death is a punishment for sin and that all men die because our first father, Adam, sinned. In his epistle to the Romans, St. Paul wrote "Sin entered the world through one man, and through sin, death."
At the moment of death, our souls will be separated from our bodies, tearing asunder our humanity, and we will continue to exist in this state, sustained by God. But we will, for the most part, remain as we were at the point of death, and our chance to gain graces will be ended.
Learn more about Catholic preparation for eternity by watching the full episode of The Download—Disembodied Souls.