As we think about and even approach death, just as there are medical, economic and emotional issues, there are significant spiritual realities to be explored and engaged. This exploration includes a searching and fearless moral inventory as discussed below. We all approach death as a topic in a way that is abstract and does not seem viscerally real when applied to us. We also approach it according to our own experiences and our individual lives. As we approach death, the spirit knows to prepare for it. It is a time to seek wholeness and holiness, even as we let go of physical life and wellbeing. In the process of dying well, things that have never been taken care of might occur to you. There are legal, economic and medical issues, but in this part I will be talking about spiritual realities in the approach to death and dying. This is especially important to do while you are alert and alive, since you may not be conscious and alert then. Spiritual concerns deal with wholeness and holiness, in the sense of the shalom, or the all-embracing peace, of God. A timeline of your life, a searching and fearless moral inventory of one’s-self, is an exercise that may lead to discoveries of great joy and great sorrow. The church would call this process “Reconciliation.” In mystical though, this is made of three different stages, or three different activities:
- Repentance or returning to God,
- Renewal or amendment of life,
- Union with God.
First, we are invited to take an honest look at our lives in order to find and accept our failings and our greatness. It’s not so easy as simply looking back, it gives us the task of examination of conscience, and truth-telling to the self. Journaling is a way to do this, recording as you meditate on the stages of your life what significance they have in their ultimate (holy/wholly) sense, finding the great joy and sorrows, affirming and celebrating the good, acknowledging and lamenting sorrows. Nowadays other media may work better, such as recording sound, video or writing a 140 character snippet on Twitter. In all you do, remember that to wound someone by confessing some old failing or sin that has been concealed for a long time may not be appropriate. Second, renewal flows from the return and examination done in light of God. It follows from reflection and discernment that you make amends, in word or deed, for sin or wounding, as well as reaffirm love and joy. Writing, calling, touching base in ways you imbue with meaning and holiness, reaching out to greet, acknowledge, or even anonymously send help, or even create a ritual and rite for reconciliation with someone who has passed away can be the means of expressing repentance and moving to renewal. The heart purged can find renewal, solace and consolation as you approach the final day. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church ~ San Lucas Iglesia Episcopal © Page 2 Lastly, union is found in the owning and integration of your life as you prepare to present it in all its fullness to the Creator. As your heart is eased of guilt and sin and any impediments to a fuller acceptance of God, it may get to the stage where you are more conscious of the readiness to go on to the place where “I myself shall see, and my eyes behold who is my friend and not a stranger” (from the Burial Rite, BCP, p. 491.) This sacred space of God, where the encounter is direct and unmediated is the place where we rest fully in wholeness and holiness.