Friday, October 29, 2010

Remember Thy Death

The title of this post sounds a bit frightening, sorry.

In addition to Halloween calling to mind the necessity to live genuinely in all areas of life (see previous post), these days from Oct. 31-Nov. 2 remind us of our death (remember that you are dust...), not to be depressing, but hopeful.

The Carthusian monks, who remained in silence nearly the entire year, used to greet each other by saying, "Frater momento mori," which is Latin for, "Brother, remember thy death." I was going to type up a reflection on this, but I stumbled across one by a priest in St. Paul who studied at the same Carthusian Monastery I did in college. His name is Fr. James Adams and here is his excerpt:


"As a student in college, I was blessed to study at the Austrian campus of Franciscan University of Steubenville. This European setting is in a 14th Century Carthusian monastery nestled in the foothills of the Austrian Alps. Upon arrival, our director of the program there guided us through the place and explained as we entered to second courtyard: “Not a single word was ever spoken in this courtyard for hundreds of years. The monks would gather once a year to meet and they would simply say to each other: “Frater, memento mori!” (“Brother, remember your death!”)

"Why are we so into death (that is, accepting it as it naturally comes) as followers of Christ? Because we are so into LIFE!!! Just as our Savior was born to die, so you and I who follow him in this life are here to die to sin and its effects and live for God. The death of our mortal body (which none of us can escape) is the ultimate consequence of sin (Romans 6:23). Because Jesus comes in the incarnation and through his Church to take away sin by his death, we can face our death here head on. It is what happens after to grave that calls our attention as believers. We are given the precious gift of our immortal soul that will live forever and ever. Each soul has a free will to choose our destiny: God or being without him. What a gift! What a responsibility!"

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