Acceptance and looking ahead

Coming to terms with our mortality is a universal challenge.

Acknowledging the reality, moving with the pain and suffering and arriving at a place of finding and making meaning in it, is the task of living our dying well. In all of this there can be growth.

Accepting that life has a finite span focuses attention, enabling us to take stock of our lives and think about the possibilities still ahead. We may ask ourselves searching questions, such as what impact do we want to make or have we made on the world? We may search for spiritual and/or religious answers. We may ask what do we want our legacy to be – how will we be remembered?

“Remember to keep death before your eyes daily” – Chapter 4.47, Rule of St. Benedict

St. Benedict invited his community to reflect on their mortality every day, as a path to living more fully, rather than suppressing or denying its’ reality.

The perspective that reflecting upon our mortality gives us – insights about our choices, how we spend each day, who we spend it with, can be an invitation to engaging and giving thanks for the riches of our lives – to our living well and to our dying well.

Jesus told the parable of the wise bridesmaids who were prepared for the late arrival of the bridegroom bringing additional flasks of oil for their lamps. Do we lead our lives well, richly and fully so that we are also prepared in case our death draws close?

Additional resources

Living with the knowledge that death is close at hand can take a huge emotional toll. These resources will help you through the experience of facing death.