Becoming a Healing Presence: Suffering and Death, pt.2

Tonight we will be reading through Chapter 8 “Suffering and Death” of Dr. Albert S. Rossi’s book Becoming a Healing Presence.  Dr. Rossi’s understanding of death echoes that of our Good Friday service: “Remember thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return” 1979 BCP 265. As he writes: “We remember death as a stimulus to live in the present moment with great vigor because we are not dead yet.” (p.134).  This use of the understanding of death to both compel us to fulfill our calling and to live in the present moment is common in the ancient world.  Marcus Aurelius (121-180), Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher, writes: “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.” (Meditations, Book 2, s.11.)  Seneca (4BC-65AD) states: “Let us prepare our minds as if we’d come to the very end of life. Let us postpone nothing. Let us balance life’s books each day. . .The one who puts the finishing touches on their life each day is never short of time.” (Moral Letters, 101.7b-8a).  And during a Roman triumph when the victorious commander would march through Rome with his captives and plunder, a slave would be there whispering in his ear “Memento, Mori (Remember, thou art mortal)”.  In other words, our recognition of the inevitability of our death in this life makes the present moment the best time to do our calling.

Dinner is at 6. The menu is roast pork and green beans. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here.

Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”

Luke 12:16,19-21

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