HOW OFTEN DO YOU THINK ABOUT DEATH?
A striking question. It may seem odd to mention death on a page devoted to the new life in matrimony, but this old Christian greeting is actually one full of hope.
Our culture is afraid of death. We never think about it. But that was not always the case. In the past, monks and priests used to keep skulls nearby to remind themselves how temporary life is.
Keeping a skull at work... a twisted idea or were the monks onto something?
When we remember our death, it reminds us of two things:
FIRST, we will have to give an account for the way we have lived.
Currently, on my phone screen I have bookmarked a prayer to St. Joseph (which I'll link below!) It closes with,
“Keep unceasingly before my eyes death and the account that I must give of time lost, talent unused, good omitted, and vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God.”
Considering our death in this way reminds us of our obligation to live well & keeps us from falling into complacency. It also simplifies decisions a heck of a lot down… Just ask, if I were at the end of my life, what would I wish I had done?
SECOND, it reminds us that we have already died alongside Christ (Colossians 3:3). In his death and resurrection, Christ has saved us and chosen to love us no matter what. Why be anxious when our pasts and futures have already been accounted for in Christ's atonement? He knows everything we have done and will do, and he loves us anyway. So ironically, considering our death should actually remove anxiety.
What does this mean for couples pursuing marriage? Marriage itself also has death in mind in a way. Walking down the aisle, the bride is choosing to devote her life to her husband "until death;" she will strive with him to reach eternal life and raise up children in a way that honors God. The groom is choosing to support, care for, and love his bride also until death. Together, they are hoping to die holier people because of this union; ultimately, to get one another into heaven to worship God alongside each other.
So next time you are struggling thinking of what to do, remember your death. Continuing the trend of irony... tomorrow is actually my birthday, and my grandfather messaged me today wishing me a happy early birthday.
"Just a early Happy Birthday from an ole PaPoo
Go enjoy Life, it is shorter than we think."