Thursday, January 03, 2008

To die would be an awfully big adventure

We are about 64 hours into 2008 and the main theme of conversation I have been having so far is death. The person I have been sharing this theme with is my Parish Priest. He took New Year's Day off and went out to visit friends and family and on his journey back he experienced a nasty allergic reaction. It was so bad that he couldn't sleep that night so prayed his way through it. First of all he made a perfect contrition and then prayed that if he survived the ordeal that God might use his illness for His greater glory.

Last night I watched Die Grosse Stille (Into Great Silence) with him and afterwards we reflected on it. He asked me whether or not I could live like that, said 'No' with no thought on the matter. I may be discerning a vocation to the Secular Priesthood but I know for sure that I have no vocation to the enclosed religious life. He found that interesting because he said the film helped to prepare him for death. He said a lot of people who have seen the film have had the same reaction as I did, in fact some said they found the film boring because of it, however, these people are going to struggle when they die because Heaven is being in that film for all eternity. Therefore perhaps for those who could live that life watching the film is a glimpse of Heaven, whereas for those who are not it is a sharing in Purgatory.

A third comment on death was this morning before Mass when Father asked the Altar Servers if they had made any New Year's Resolutions yet and if so had they broken them yet. When we had all given our answers (mine being that I gave up making Resolutions years ago) he said his was to die more often. To give himself utterly to Christ, so much so that he dies to the world, on more than a daily basis.

I notice one of my brethren has written a post on Peter Pan. I too like the story of the boy who never grew up but not because of the eternal childhood storyline but because of the quotation which entitles this post. I also saw the films he mentioned and both of them share a death storyline which is fascinating. In Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium Mr Magorium dies but sending a paper aeroplane in flight, sitting in the middle of his shop and as the plane flies around it creates a night sky. In an earlier scene Mr Magorium was in hospital and a young boy (the narrator) was putting glow in the dark stars on the walls and ceiling. When a doctor asked what he was doing Mr Magorium replied, "He's making sure I have enough space to sleep in". That is exactly what the plane is doing. In Finding Never Land Kate Winslet's death scene is magical. She asks J. M. Barrie to show her Never Land, he has the cast of the play perform in her drawing room. At one point in the play Peter Pan pulls down a curtain and the back garden has been transformed into Never Land, Kate Winslet gets up and walks into the garden. In both films after the points at these points the scene moves to the graveside. Both characters enjoy peaceful, happy deaths because they are ready for death and their souls enjoy the Paradise of Heaven while their bodies sleep on the earth waiting for the Great Resurrection.

If you are like me New Year has nothing to do with death, if anything it is about life, but this year I am reminded that a new year brings me closer to death and therefore I must prepare myself for it every day, thanking God for allowing me to wake up each morning, asking my Guardian Angel to protect me during the night and if the Lord takes me back Home to carry my soul to Heaven.

God Bless you all and may He grant you a happy death.

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