The monument at the entrance to the former Nazi concentration camp Majdanek was designed to be reminiscent of Dante’s Gates of Hell.
Into that secret place he led me on. Here sighs, with lamentations and loud moans, Resounded through the air pierced by no star, That e’en I wept at entering. – Dante
When I first visited this former camp in 2010, I never expected that I would ever return there. At the time, I did not even know where we were on the map. It seemed that we had been brought to the brink of an abyss, and that even our own existence became more tenuous as we stood there.
I will always remember pressing my hand against that massive, imposing monument and praying: “Lord, etch this experience on my memory and engrave this upon my conscience because I don’t want to ever forget the testimony of the survivors that I’ve heard in this place.”
One of the best things about doing this daily blog is that my friends now think to share with me anything particularly good and interesting about death or dying that they’ve seen or heard lately.
And so, quite a few of my friends have brought up this homily by Fr. Mike Schmitz’s from Palm Sunday:
In it, he says, “We’re all going to be dead at some point and I don’t think that that’s the problem. I think the problem is that we pretend that we’re not. We pretend that that’s not true and then, when tragedy happens, when death cuts close, I think it cuts through the illusion that my choices don’t matter.”