5. From Death to Love
Our consumer culture is afraid of death. Ignores it. As if it didn't exist. We will not find it on billboards where we only see "happy" people shopping. The culture of money makes no mention of death because it undermines its assumptions that you must have as much as possible, more than others, focus on having (and not being) and be better than others in order to be happy. You cannot stop, you do not have time to think about the meaning of life, let alone death, and the whole list of questions that both life and death provoke. In this way, the culture of productivity delights people around the world, telling them that this is life .

Fortunately, reality defends itself. One day we find out that our loved one is sick with a terminal illness... In an instant our whole world falls apart! We realize that we've wasted years on insignificant things! We didn't notice the most important thing. We lived so many years without asking ourselves "what is the meaning of this life?". We were fooled. The death of our loved one clearly showed us that what we have led so far was not real life. Such moments are our last hope to wake up and have a mature encounter with death, that can bring us a lot of peace and stability. It can help us really live.

And how do you approach death? What do you do when someone loses a loved one? Do you have the courage to enter into the experience of death with that person? Talk about it? When your friends pass away, do you realize that you could be next? Today I would like to invite you to the CONTEMPLATION OF DEATH. It is a wisdom practice present in various religions, from the Christian "memento mori" or "Spiritual Exercises" of Ignatius Loyola to the "Maranasati" of the Buddha. It allows us to see what is truly important in life.

You can do this exercise in the dark. Turn off the lights, cover windows and close blinds. Feel like you are immersed in death for the next 20 minutes. You can do this exercise using a computer, tablet or phone. After the Exercise there will be a kind of anonymous sharing to get inspired by others. At the beginning:
Have a seat in a peaceful place...
Take a few deep breaths...
Say "yes" to everything that comes from within you...

Artur Pruś SJ (arczi@jesuits.net)
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