“You have to die a few times before you can really live.” ~ Charles Bukowski
People who know me know that the daily meditations are generally written the same day as they are published or the day before. There are very few times that I write ahead of time. The exceptions would be when I am going out of town on vacation or retreat or the time that I wrote the reflections for the Advent and Christmas seasons. Today’s meditation, then, is predictable since I will be celebrating the Funeral Mass for my aunt later this morning.
What is life? What is death? So many people are afraid of death and do all that they can to avoid it. Because of that, they never truly live. There are also others who spend wasted lives and, in the process, are never ready for death.
“You have to die a few times before you can really live.” There are a couple of times that this rule becomes very important. As Christians, we cannot truly live until we die to self. If we fail to die to self — to sin, to pride, to foolish inclinations — we will stymie ourselves. We can become so caught up in self that we never allow God to enter into our lives as completely as possible. It is only when we die to self that we can truly live a Christian life.
That brings us, then, to the second time that we have to die before we truly live: the end of our mortal lives. Each and every one of us will participate in that event as we have all taken on the corruptibility and mortality that came about because of original sin. We have to die. It is that simple. But when we die, we have the opportunity, truly, to live and to live forever. Jesus Christ destroyed sin and death by His own death and resurrection. If we die to ourselves throughout our lives and live for the Lord, we will be invited to live with Him in His Kingdom at the end of our days here on earth.
Throughout most of their lives, people shirk death. They are afraid of it. They decry its inevitability. However, there comes a time in most lives when we look forward to the sweet release that death can bring. My aunt felt that for a few months now as she became more hobbled by her cancer and, in her last several days, consumed by its pain. She looked forward to going home, as we all should. The final death that we make in our lives will be the death that enables us to live forever.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for those who are afraid to die to self and thus never fully live that they may be able to embrace God more deeply today.