A monk should always act as if he was going to die tomorrow; yet he should treat his body as if it was going to live for many years. The first cuts off the inclination to listlessness, and makes the monk more diligent; the second keeps his body sound and his self control well balanced. [Macarius the Great]
Receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday, as I do every year, I'm struck with how each year is slightly different. Of course, three years ago, as I had just received news of a mass on my pancreas, was the one where mortality was most present, when I wondered if that year's ashes would be the last I would ever receive. It also strikes me how quickly that feeling can fade when the crisis is past.
Which brought to mind the saying of Macarius above. Within the saying, however, is also the reminder of how important our physical being is. We will die, yes, but even if it is only dust, something remains.
Yes, it always comes back to incarnation with me. The stuff of us is important and it won't go away.
What is also on my mind, more broadly, is death. My congregation is doing a series on death and dying, and it has me thinking of death in my life (which looks funnier on the screen than it sounded in my head).
What I think this means for this blog is that I'm going to be writing a series of entries, some I expect to be very brief, about specific deaths in my life. There may also be some entries reflecting on my own death, what I think about that, how aging makea me think about it differently.
I seldom have a detailed plan about these things, as readers of this blog will already know.
If nothing else, we"ll all be extra joyful when Easter arrives.