In each house of the Society, in order to provide the members who live therein some good thoughts about death, there will always be kept in reserve a crucifix which will be hung in some visible place of a common room of the house. It is this crucifix which will be placed in the hands of the deceased and enclosed in the coffin with him.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 22 February 1825, EO VI n.171

“Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return…” Ash Wednesday liturgy


“If I can get a man to think seriously about death for five minutes, I can get him saved.” Dwight L Moody

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Death, our own death and reflections on it. I once knew a hermit who actually spent many years reflecting on and preparing for his own death. Over the course of time he selected a place where he wanted to be buried and eventually began to dig his own grave – preparing. Each day he would look out the window of his little hut that he lived in and see where he eventually would become one with the earth. He was not a morbid man, nor depressed, but rather was one of the most alive persons I have ever met.

    I think of the cross and look at the two that I have in my room, one which was my grandfather’s and the other which belonged to my father – both taken from their caskets and given to me. I look at the crosses – one on the wall and one on my bureau and am reminded of both men not so much with sadness but rather thinking of where they both are now. I look at the smaller cross which I wear every day and my thoughts become more intimate as I move into a place not so much of feeling but rather a place of being, with myself, with my God, even with the world.

    I admit to not really thinking though about my own death when I look at a cross. And although there is certainly that part of me that yearns to be in the final resting place with God, freely and fully, I find that I love life, incredibly much I love life. When I do think of death there is that tiny spark of fear, of not knowing that seems to halt me in my tracks. Now along with the aging process which slows me down a little and readily invites me to reflect on my own mortality, there is this way of looking at and reflecting on the cross. The seed has been planted and so each time I look at, pick it up, put it on, caress it there will be a new added dimension to it. Not uncomfortable, just different. Imagine – all of this life, everyone and everything, just a preparation for what is to come. That look, that caress now includes exquisite hope and gentle gratitude.

    Not what I expected when I awoke this morning, this is the sun breaking through the early morning mist of today.

  2. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    We are the ones for whom we have been waiting.
    Hopi Elders
    this makes it clear through words that the path of Jesus is our path. We so what to separate the two.

    I read this this morning on gratitude.org and it speaks similar words that the small black cross in our chapel does simply be being there.

    Thanks you Eleanor for this morning reflection.

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