Chinese scholars kept small objects on their desk to aid in contemplation. Having found that an attractive notion, I began to collect small objects that invite reflection. They “live” on a tray on the ottoman in my office.
The small ceramic skull always prompts comment. We don’t like to contemplate our mortality. I once was invited to address the Kiwanis Club in Albertville, Alabama about the Hospice where I volunteered as a chaplain. I asked each man to repeat aloud after me, “I’m going to die.” What a awkward moment. It was a memento mori – reminder that I am mortal. I was never invited again.
Death is real and so is resurrection. But we need to acknowledge the first before we can attain the second . All that is required is that we be dead, a state we can all attain. So there is good news after all. All God requires is that we be dead to ourselves and alive to him. What he really wants from us is our permission. He will do the rest. Christ is Risen!
Momento Mori on ottoman in my office.
There are two kinds of death: terminal and paschal. Both are real deaths, but terminal is just as named while paschal is death into something: resurrection!
Philippe d Champaigne 1602-1674 Still life with a Skull – vanitas painting