If you’re free to prepare for dying before it’s happening…

This is my 336th post about death and dying on this blog. And I am now into the final month of this yearlong project.

I am amazed and grateful that I get to contemplate dying so intentionally and comfortably before it is happening. I know that I will not always be up for this work.

Some friends of mine, while they have been hospitalized or sick, have testified to me that it is not possible for them to read and think about death under such circumstances. It seems too raw and too sad.

This makes sense.

We have investment accounts and retirement savings so that we do not need to think and worry too much about money later in life.

It seems worthwhile to store away reflection on the last things and to build an accounting of what matters ultimately when we are young and healthy so that we do not need to worry about this so much when we are sick or dying.



You can take it with you

Almost everyone has at some point heard the phrase, “You can’t take it with you.”

This idiom is, of course, intended to remind us that we cannot take any material possessions with us when we die.

It seems to me worthwhile to flip the phrase around to ask ourselves what we can “take” with us when we die.

If you think that you have an everlasting soul, then there are presumably both temporal and everlasting realities.

What difference would it make in our lives if we spent time regularly contemplating what we can/do “take with us” when we die?

What would it look like to add more eternal realities to our day-to-day?

“You can’t take it with you” is intended to give perspective and cultivate detachment.

Yet, it is only the first step. The next step is to sort out what it is that we can, in a sense, “take with us” and then to cultivate that in our lives.

Is your work to die for?

Today is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker and this post examines Pope Francis’ beautiful Apostolic Letter “With A Father’s Heart” to explore the practical ways in which we can see work as a context for self-gift through which we fulfill the meaning of our lives.

I have organized the themes of the letter into the following eight categories. Each category begins with a excerpt from the letter and then includes a question or two for our contemplation of some possible practical applications.

1. Names and Relationships:

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