“We are called to remember our mortality day by day with unflinching realism, shaking off the sleep of denial. Paradoxically, only those who remember that they are but dust, and to dust they shall return, are capable of accepting the presence of eternal life in each passing moment, and receiving ever fresh the good news of hope. The anticipation of death is essential if we are to live each day to the full as a precious gift, and rise to the urgency of our vocation as stewards who will be called to give account at Christ’s coming. Remembering that death can come to us at any time will spur us to be prepared, by continual renewal of our repentance and acceptance of the forgiveness of God, to meet Christ without warning. We shall remember to express to one another those things which would make us ready to part without regrets, especially thankfulness and reconciliation.” (From The Rule of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, “Holy Death,” Chapter 48.)
Earlier this month, in the midst of Lent, I celebrated my 53rd birthday. While we are now several days into the Easter Season, I have been pondering the words above this month in my prayer time.
I've been part of the Fellowship of St. John the Evangelist for years - I've lost track how many, but more than a decade. I find wisdom in the Rule that the brothers live by, and especially in the words above. The Easter Season is about new life and the promise of resurrection. If Christ has been raised from the dead then so are we. This means, to me at least, that we can face our own deaths with courage and hope. As I understand it, this frees us to live life without regrets, to live more fully reconciled and grateful lives, one day at a time. I think this is in part what it means to be Easter People.