Every man born into this world lives in a condemned cell; the warrant for his death will be issued not at an hour of his own choosing.+Death has this to answer for - it disturbs our scale of values. Life is full of relationships so trivial, so undignified, that Death strikes a false note when it enters into them. Two lovers, for example, naturally think of the moment, and speak with pathos of the moment, when Death will part them. Nobody thinks of the moment when Death will part him from his dentist. It is a cruel, brutal thing when you see it shorn of all its paraphernalia of tragedy.+
There are so many other things to be done in the world, so many echoes that deafen us, that we are apt to forget the first principle of our probation, which is this: that the most important moment of our lives, the moment around which all the rest of our life ought to be grouped as its centre and its climax, is the moment when we leave it.+
Oughtn't we to think of our Christian dead as a great multitude surrounding us, like the lights of a city when you look across the valley at evening; some brighter, some paler, some nearer, some more distant, but all reflecting, each in its degree, the beauty and the majesty of God? Some will need our prayers more than others; some, more than others, will be able to bestow a blessing on us in return.
- Monsignor Ronald Knox