Mortal Knowledge

Everyone knows they're going to die … but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently. … [T]here's a better approach. To know you're going to die, and to be prepared for it at any time. That's better. That way you can actually be more involved in your life while you're living.
Morrie Schwartz, in Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie

The Purpose of Life

Is the object of life to live? No, it is not to live but to die! And not only to hew the cross but to mount it. And to give all that we have, laughing!
Paul Claudel in Weavings


Life is a great surprise. I do not see why death should not be an even greater one.
Vladimir Nabokov, quoted in The Living Pulpit

Final Peace

When the writer of Revelation spoke of the coming of the day of shalom, he did not say that on that day we would live at peace with death. He said that on that day "There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son

Daily Reminder

Day by day remind yourself that you are going to die.
The Rule of St. Benedict

Deathbed Ignorance

I have been shocked by the number of Christian men and women who come to their deathbeds knowing nothing about the God of love and mercy. They have known instead the Judge of impossible standards, and they have been, naturally enough, afraid to meet that God.
Eve Kavanaugh, "Prayer of the Flesh"

Heavenly Banquet

Whoever does not have some foretaste of the heavenly banquet will never partake of it.
Johann Tauler, quoted in Context

Oven-fired Hope

Christian hope for life beyond death is a hope that has passed through the furnace of suffering and death. Christians affirm the good news of Easter only in the wake of the anguish of Good Friday. Our hope for everlasting life permits no evasion of death's hard reality.
Amy Plantinga Pauw, "Dying Well" in Practicing Our Faith

Funeral Wisdom

[B]etter than baptisms or marriages, funerals press the noses of the faithful against the windows of their faith. … The afterlife begins to make the most sense after life—when someone we love is dead on the premises.
Thomas Lynch, The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade

Related Elsewhere

Past Reflections columns include:Quotations of Time and Eternity (Oct. 11, 2000) Quotations to Contemplate (Sept. 21, 2000) Christian virtues (Aug. 22, 2000) Beauty, Prayer and Loving God (Aug. 1, 2000) Prayer, Silence and Other Topics (June 31, 2000) Getting, Giving, and Generosity (June 13,2000). Easter Sunday (Apr. 3, 2000) Good Friday (Apr. 3, 2000) Friendships (Mar. 6, 2000) Gratitude: Take One (Feb. 7, 2000) God Will Prevail (Oct. 25, 1999) The Might of a Dandelion (Oct. 4, 1999) Losing Touch with God (Sept. 6,1999) Real Joy (Aug. 9, 1999) Prayer for Today (Mar. 1, 1999)

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