You are going to die.
You are going to die. You know this and have known this since you were quite young, yet somehow you go about your day in a kind of fitful denial, activity attempting to cast the light of men onto the shadow of death.
Part of your problem is you’re a Christian; your theological worldview has subtly contained your death in a borrowed hope, a totalizing hope, a hope that makes death look insignificant. You claim the resurrection and you boldly echo the words of St. Paul, “Oh death where is they victory…where is thy sting?”
So, yes, you’re going to die, but for you it is of minor consequence, like the caterpillar’s metamorphosis. For you, your death is an ellipsis. And it is here I want to tell you that you play the part in a great tragedy. And that yours is a worse tragedy than those of Sophocles. For in them the characters attempt to struggle against their fate, even in the midst of the horrid determinism. You, however, are wholly ignorant of what awaits you. You dance and dine and move about the stage of your life with death as a lover, veiled in white, submissive and silent. You have recreated death in your own image; a further extension of your busy life so that it is no real death at all, it is a conquering.
This tragedy is an unintended consequence, of course. It is, in some sense, the consequence of an excess of virtue, of Faith. What is especially insidious about this tragedy is how what you believed was an increase of Faith, was only the increase of ignorance, the blinding of your mind. You made Faith your own, a compliment to your soul, which you covet like an elixir. And you believe this Faith you have will save you from death. You are wrong. You will not get out of this life alive. You really are going to die.
But, you see, you have forgotten what this means. In the hope gifted to you from above, you have confused its significance with the death event. Your hope has become your confusion and your confusion has cheapened your hope. You are like the trust-fund child, daily aware of his inheritance. And with every passing day, the incalculable riches gifted to you only obscure the great sacrifice undertaken in their accumulation. You have forgotten your poverty. In your great inheritance you have thought yourself wealthy. You have come to believe that Faith is a liquid asset, ready for immediate transaction. You forget the account is not in your name. You forget your death is your bankruptcy.
And in your forgetting, you misplace your very self. In fact, in your forgetting you’ll find that what you thought you had, even that, will be taken from you in death. Because in your trivializing of death you have trivialized your life. A sham death knows no students.
What you must recapture is the frightening reality that your death is your annihilation. It is your end. It is your abject anonymity. It is to hear the words, “I do not know you.” It is to be forsaken.
Your death is the end of your life, the tearing of the fabric of your being, the ripping apart of your soul and body.
Death leaves behind only two abominations: a corpse and a ghost.
And your death is immanent and it is everything you deserve. Your death is ever on the horizon and it brings with it no hope. In your death you are defenseless for it is the suicide of a prideful will parading as liberation. Death is the existential claim of one’s right to one’s self.
You die because you hate God. You die because you hate God. You die because you hate God.
Now, go before the altar and contemplate its blood.