Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Lenten Meditation: Remember, man, that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return!
We saw at least a dozen graves of confederate soldiers and sailors some who clearly died in the war and others who lived to tell about it. There were graves of men and women taken in the prime of life and two graves of women who were nearly 100 when they died. They were the exception.
We prayed our usual intentions for family and friends both living and dead and for all those buried in the cemetery as well. Walking through a cemetery is a sobering experience. Nothing is guaranteed: not tomorrow, not next week, not the next minute. As Fr. James Buckley reminds retreatants during his Ignatian retreats, he once saw a gravestone in an English cemetery that read, "What you are I once was, what I am you will be." There is nothing more certain than death and judgment.
Each of us would do well to reflect on death, especially during Lent. The Church urges us to think often about the four last things: death, judgment, heaven or hell. There are saints who made their examination of conscience at the end of the day imagining themselves in hell and asking, "What did you do today, poor soul, to land you in this evil place?" Not a bad idea for people who don't want to go there.
Remember, man, that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.