All posts in “death”

Momento Mori, Momento Domini! Ash Wednesday Meditation (with a bit of help from Barth)

Momento mori: “Remember that you must die.”

Today is Ash Wednesday: a day set aside in the Christian tradition to reflect on the inescapable reality of death. But it is also a day that looks ahead to Christ’s death for us, in which all our ends have been taken up and overcome in Him. No one dies alone, but in radical solidarity, Christ has made our suffering and finitude His own so that we, being joined together in death, might also be raised with Him into the fullness of life.

Karl Barth writes, “Momento mori means concretely Momento Domini (remember the Lord)!” We must accept ourselves as we are, which includes the remembrance of our imminent death. But we must also hope in the God who, with us and for us, became human and entered the grave to overcome it. God is the hope of humanity, as Barth continues, Christ “by His dying and rising again is Himself our hope in the face of our dying—God for us where we can no longer be for ourselves” (CD III/4, 594).

God is my beyond, the One whom I meet in death. Death is so terrifying because it does not belong to us, it is an unfathomable nothingness. Yet it is precisely that nothingness which Christ took upon Himself. Thus, death is not a leap into the formless vacuum but into the eternity of God.

Momento mori—remember that you must die! But also, and most of all, Momento Domini—remember Christ, our Lord, who has conquered death!

(Originally posted on my Instagram and Facebook pages.)

And He Laughed – Short Story #7

It’s not like they weren’t aware of the situation. But perhaps they didn’t care, or cared too much to give it any notice. He had read one time of a particle so shy and so fragile that when a scientist tried to study it it would hide. But the math was there. They knew it existed, as it related itself to other particles in the universe. But it disappeared upon ones taking notice of it. But there he went again with his mind, thinking. Unnecessary—it was completely unnecessary now.

It was afternoon in the park. She wasn’t saying a word and she didn’t have to. He knew with a look. But it was more than a look. It was as if all time and space had converged in a moment. He had always known. He was always going to end up right here in this park with this woman in this spot, and for as long as he lived he knew it, his bones felt it, he was home.

He sat with her in silence as the park groaned. He wasn’t interested in anything but this. Feeling alive and present, as the trees grew silently, consistently—the wind blew and the sun shined. He wasn’t going to miss it, it was real, it was all that had to be right now. He knew he would end up here, somewhere somehow he knew it. He was always going to end up here.

They had met at school. She captivated him. As she told him her story she must have seen the look in his eyes found understood meaning in them. The frozen yogurt in his cup was melting. It didn’t matter. Nothing would be the same. She would be the single greatest catalyst to life, the greatest joy, the greatest light.

As the park cleared, the air thinned more and more, he sat. She sat. They had nowhere to be, nothing to do, no one to be. They had been there already, done that already, been that already. Ready now to just—to nothing, to nowhere, to no one. To exist in, in a place in time. Or not in time. Simply to—nothing.

Nothing-ing they sat. The sun collapsed, and crimson bled the horizon in sanctum memoriam. Mourning the dying of the light. He whispered, “rage, rage—”, but could not remember the rest. In the absence of memory, in the absent of things to do or to be or to think or to say or to feel or to—anything, he forgot. What a pleasure it was to forget. To be held in the memory of another, the memory of a lover. A lover remembers well, whatever the rest may remember about the forgotten. The ease of slipping into the sea, walking into the ocean without a care, knowing that you are loved and desired, awakened by love and light and goodness of joy and freedom and forgiveness.  Nothing to do but sit back in the knowledge of your forgettery, and the favorable memory of love. So he sat. In the dusk of the eve in the park near his mothers house, he sat.

He was alone. But he was not alone. He was afraid. But he had nothing to fear. As the sun died, he sat nothing to do no one to be no more to say or to think or feel or understand. What a relief. Only one thing left. Nothing. To fall into an embrace. It was the easiest thing in the world.

And he smiled.

And he smiled as his heart stopped beating and his lungs stopped filling and his mind let go and his head fell heavy, heavy. His last thought, his sole experience was that somewhere someone drew him, called him. Somewhere someone pulled him, somewhere someone loved him. And he laughed for ever and ever.