Greetings sistren and brethren, and welcome. I wish to share with a few of you these thoughts on Death, written by an unkown author, long ago. When I meditate upon these passages, I know Christ to be within. The Christ Consciousness. Now, let us consider our own Death:
Of The Rememberance Of Death
The hour of death will shortly come, and therefore take
care how you conduct yourself, for the common proverb
is true: Today a man; tomorrow none. When you are out
of sight you are soon out of mind, and soon will be forgotten.
Oh, the great dullness and hardness of man's heart,
which thinks only about present things and gives little
care to the life to come. If you acted well, you should so behave
in every deed and in every thought as though you were
about to die this very instant. If you had a good conscience,
you would not fear death so much, and it would be better
for you to abandon sin than to fear death. Oh, my dear brother,
if you are not ready this day, how will you be ready tomorrow?
Tomorrow is a day uncertain, and you cannot tell whether you
will live that long.
What profit is it to live long, if in a long life we so little amend
our life? Long life does not always bring us to amendment;
often, it brings an increase of sin. Would to God that we might
one day be truly converted in this world. Many count up their
years of conversion, yet but little fruit of amendment or of any
good example is seen in their manner of life. If it is fearful to die,
perhaps it is more perilous to live long. Blessed are those who
have the hour of death ever before their eyes, and who every
day prepare themselves to die.
If you ever saw any man die, remember that you must go
the same way. In the morning, doubt whether you will live till
night; at night, do not think yourself certain to live till morning.
Be always ready, and live in such manner that death may not
find you unprepared. Remember how many have died suddenly
and unprepared, for our Lord called them in the hour they
least suspected His summons.
And when this last hour comes, you will begin to feel quite
differently than you did before about your past life, and you will
begin to sorrow greatly that you were so slow and negligent
in the service of God. Oh, how happy and wise, therefore, he is
who labors to stand now in the condition in which he would like
to be found at the moment of his death! Truly, a perfect despising
of the world, and a fervent desire to advance in virtue, a love to
be taught, a fruitful labor in the works of penance, a ready will
to obey, a complete forsaking of ourselves, and a willing bearing
of all adversities for the love of God---all these shall give us a
great trust that we shall die well.
Now while you are in good health you may do many good deeds;
if you fall sick, I cannot tell what you may do, for few are made
better through sickness, just as those who go on many pilgimages
are seldom made perfect and holy by them. Do not put your trust
in your friends and neighbors, and do not put off your good deeds
until after your death, for you shall be sooner forgotten than you
think. It is better to provide for yourself ahead of time and to send
some good deeds before you than to trust to others who very likely
will easily forget you. If you are not busy now for yourself and for
your own soul's health, who will be busy for you after your death?
Now the time is very precious, but alas, that you should spend so
unprofitably the time with which you should win life everlasting!
The time is to come when you will long for one day or one hour in
which to make amends, but I do not know whether the day or hour
will be granted to you. Oh, my dear brother, from how great peril
and fear might you now deliver yourself, if you would always within
this life fear to offend God, and always keep present before you the
coming of death! Therefore, study so to live now that at the hour
of death you may rejoice rather than fear. Learn now to die to the
world so that you may then live with Christ. Learn also to despise
now all worldly things so that you may then go freely to Christ.
Chastise your body now with penance that you mat then have a
sure mind and a steadfast hope of salvation.
You are foolish if you think to live long, since you are not
certain to live one day through to the end. How many have been
decieved through trusting in a long life who have suddenly been
taken out of the world much sooner than they had thought.
How often have you heard that such a man was slain, and such a man
was drowned, and such a man fell and broke his neck; this man
choked on his food, and this man died in his recreation; one by fire,
another by the sword, another by sickness, and some by theft have
suddenly perished. And so the end of all men is death, and the life
of man is as a shadow which suddenly glides and passes away.
Think often who shall remember you after your death, and who
shall pray for you, and do now for yourself all that you can, for
you know not when you shall die, or what shall follow after your death.
While you have time, gather for yourself immortal riches. Think
unceasingly on nothing but on your soul's health. Devote your study
only to things that are of God, and that belong to His honor. Make
friends for yourself in readiness for that time. Worship His saints
and follow their steps, so that when you go out of this world they
may recieve you into everlasting tabernacles.
Keep yourself as a pilgrim and a stranger here in this world, as one
to whom the world's business counts but little. Keep your heart free,
and always lift it up to God, for you have here no city long abiding.
Send your desires and your prayers always up to God, and pray with
preserverance that your soul at the hour of death may blessedly depart
out of this world and go to Christ.
---The Imitation Of Christ, 1418 A.D.
Indeed. One of my favorite movie scenes is from the film "The Last Samurai", when Katsumoto Moritsu says: ".....and then I come to this place, of my ancestors, and I realize, we are all dying."