Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Preparing for Death - Part 3 "We Are All Dying"

We deceive ourselves sadly if we think of death only as taking place with the last breath of life here; on the contrary, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment, we are dying. Step by step the future of life approaches us, and at the same time, step by step death advances towards us. And every moment added to this life is at the same time a moment subtracted from it. Death really never comes suddenly, but we always approach it gradually, step by step. This life of our is a path upon which we journey; every day we complete a part of it; life and death seem to be far distant from each other, when in fact they are as near as possible to each other. Life is always gliding along as if on a swift wing, while death is ever hovering near to strike us down. Like voyagers on the ocean, who are coming nearer and nearer to port, although as they are being borne along swiftly by the vessel, they often feel it not or think not of it, so on the voyage of life, whatever we do, whether we eat, or drink, or sleep, we are always coming nearer and nearer to death. Many have passed through life seeking only the means and the supplies to support it.

No one can cheerfully meet death unless he has for a long time been looking forward to it with calm composure. Die daily to thyself whilst thou art living, so that when thou diest thou mayest live with God. Before thou diest, let thy sins die in thee; in thy life let the old Adam die in thee, so in thy death Christ shall live in thee; in thy life let thine outward man perish day by day, so in thy death the inward man shall be renewed in thee. Death simply transfers us from time to eternity as we are, for "where the tree falleth, there it shall be" (Ecc 6:3). How anxiously then ought we to consider the hour of death! Time is quickly passing, and the infinite reaches of eternal ages stretch out before us; in time then prepare thyself for eternity!

-Johann Gerhard, "The Daily Consideration of Death"

Sacred Meditations, pg 248-249

No comments: