Life and Death and Life…

“If we are honest, we acknowledge that we are dying throughout our life, and this is what we learn if we are attentive: grace is found at the depths and in the death of everything.” Richard Rohr

I have read and pondered this quote from theologian Richard Rohr countless times since I first encountered it. Honestly, when I first read it I found this idea quite depressing. Yet as I began to reflect more deeply on my own experience, I believe good brother Rohr is correct.

My first experience with death was in my early teens with the sudden passing of my father. It was unquestionably one the most life shaping moments of my life. For the first time I became cognizant of death. And, the accompanying emotional impact that often comes with death.

I also have come to understand that this initial encounter with death was a significant seed planting experience for me in that death is a part of the life’s journey. This learning quickly took deep roots as an inordinate amount of friends tragically died before I reached my 18th birthday. It became acutely clear that there is a rhythm to life, and death is very much a part of that rhythm.

That early life lesson has shaped both my faith and how I navigate the world. Death is the end of one experience and at the same time the beginning of the next. It is interwoven into all aspects of our lives. Death is not just physical but also happens in relationships, in organizations and in communities. Death, often understandably and appropriately, evokes a sense of loss. Yet embraced in the larger rhythm of life, embedded in our deaths is always an invitation to something new.

“Who we are is held in the love of God from before time; and as we lean into that now in life and taste it, we’ll be prepared to really see death as the fullness of being and not as the lessening of it.” —Cynthia Bourgeault

Blessed All Hollows’ Eve, All Souls’ Day, Día de Los Muertos!

4 thoughts on “Life and Death and Life…”

  1. George Thompson

    Thanks for the sobering reflections. It helpful to be reminded of life’s rhythm and reason amid all of the distractions going on in the world today and everyday. Blessings Good Bishop Sir!

  2. John Richardson

    Timely words my friend. Thanks for the reminder of the rhythms of life and death. It’s been an interesting few months for my family and the ever present Grace hasn’t been far away through it all.

  3. Autumn is the hardest time of year for me as it begins the a long season of death anniversaries for me. This past 2020 also brought more occasions of losing friends and relatives and those anniversaries are now upon me. Thank you for helping to remember the universality of the rhythm of death and it’s inherent relationship to life. That recognition eases my sorrow a bit more.

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