… Catholicism is the punk rock of religions. The Church is fearless in Her embrace of death. We love our relics, cherish our martyrs, talk to the dead and pray for a happy death!
I was discussing my upcoming trip to Italy next month with a non-Catholic co-worker. I told her about the possibility of getting tickets for the Scavi Tour and expressed my enthusiasm for seeing the chians that bound St. Peter and Capuchini Bone Chapel, and went on in some length about St. Stephen’s hand in Budapest.
She just stared at me as I went on and on about chains and bones and crypts and decapitated and severed limbs… slowly backing away from me.
I suppose it would appear to some that Catholics are a morbid twisted lot, especially since things like death and dying are still taboo. They shouldn’t be… it is the one universal experience we will all have in common.
I wonder though if my attitude isn’t in part cultural as much as it is spiritual. I mean, hell, I was named after this doll.
Even some of my fellow papist friends are a little taken aback by the thought of “memento mori” and can not understand why I would chose to surround myself with death and do hospice nursing.
Here’s why… if you knew you were going to do die tomorrow what would you do? Call all your loved ones, settle quarrels, forgive and seek forgiveness, go some where or do something you would normally put off… in other words you would LIVE! There’s a reason for the popular sayings “live for the moment” or “live like you are dying.”
Why do so many wait till they are dying to start living anyway?
I know that at any moment I could die; I am reminded daily how fragile and precious and incredibly brief our time on this earth is. And that knowledge is a source of joy. Call me creepy.
About the image: Prince of Orange, René de Chalons, died in battle in 1544, at age 25. His widow commissioned the sculptor Ligier Richier to represent him offering his heart to God, set against the painted splendour of his former worldly estate. Church of Saint-Étienne, Bar-le-Duc. [source]