Thursday, February 28, 2013

In the Midst of Life, We are in Death

Now that Lent is already well underway, and the world has seen the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, I can't help to call to mind the words of a chant piece we used to sing at my college during Lent.  Media vita, in morte sumus: in the midst of life, we are in death.  The theme of death, however, is not a mordant one.  It is not for the sake of dwelling on death itself that one should dwell on death.  Heaven knows--as my niece enters this world, my wife and I prepare to welcome our own child, and we prepare to close the purchase of a house--that there is so much life around me, and newness, and change.  But, for some reason, this theme came to my mind recently (in the guise of John Sheppard's musical piece "Media Vita").  And, as I thought about the meaning, I once more recalled the adage from St. Robert Bellarmine, that we should "live well, so as to die."  We consider death to look beyond death.  By regarding death, we are confronted with the vision of our own mortality and transience.  If we have hope, that Hope that St. Peter said we must always have an account for, we see that beyond death is life, Life everlasting.  May we die to self this day and every day, for the sake of eternity, we may die to sin, but rise to life in Christ.

(Please excuse the video, as it's the best version of the piece I could find).