Now I Have A Skull On My Desk

“We got you something for your birthday to remind you of your mortality,” Sam said.

Daniel and Max followed him into my office and the three of them proceeded to present me with a box that contained the skull pictured above.

“Thanks,” I told them. “Very thoughtful!”

Some years ago, a religious sister with the epic name Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble, received a ceramic skull during a retreat. This began her daily meditations on death, about which she tweeted, chronicling her new insights that came from keeping a skull on her desk. Working on Parliament Hill, I particularly appreciated Day 6.

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“In half an hour, I’ll know more than you do”

On this Ash Wednesday, I am recalling those words spoken by Fr. Alfred Delp to a chaplain shortly before the Nazis executed the priest by hanging.

Throughout history, there are certain persons who display such a remarkably supernatural outlook toward death.

Here are a handful of examples excerpted from St. Alphonsus Maria De Liguori’s Preparation for Death:

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