Thursday, May 19, 2016

Living Well and Dying Well

德 is the Chinese character for virtue. The ideogram  explains  clearly what is necessary for a natural human life in all its fullness: a good subject for meditation. Before economic development we often saw on  school gates the Korean word for virtue: few school children would now know its meaning.

The left side ㄔcould be seen as a person walking: a leg and a foot. We can understand it as our bodily behavior. The top of the right side 十目 are the characters for ten and eye. Before we do anything, we have to use our heads and examine well what we do: right thinking. 一心, the character for one and heart. We need a singleness of purpose.  Body, mind and heart need to work together in harmony.

When we make the sign of the cross, we acknowledge  these three aspects of our earthly life, but we also add the spiritual, our souls which infuse all. We touch the head, the heart and the shoulders, our bodies. Thinking, working and practicing the virtues make us open to the gifts of Grace. As Christians, Jesus comes into our lives with his death and Resurrection and gives meaning to our existence.

An article in a diocesan bulletin a priest tells his  readers before taking his medical exams, he  feels some trepidation but when he receives word, there is no problem, he is elated and has boasted about his good health to  the parishioners. One of the women responded: "Father, do you want to live a long time?" Receiving this question he was shaken and  embarrassed.

Was he so lacking in other areas that he had to brag about his health? He mentions, he exercises his body each day. There is time for nurturing the mind and the spirit. He knows that life is more than the body and just living a healthy life, but what we do with the health that we have is what is important.

"Stop worrying, then, over questions like, 'What are we to eat, or what are we to drink, or what are we to wear?' The unbelievers are always running after these things.  Your heavenly Father knows all that you need. Seek first his kingship over you,  his way of holiness, and all these  things will be given  you besides" (Matt 6: 31-33).

He concludes the article  with the phrases 'Well Living' and 'Well Dying'. When we live well we will die well, and for a Christian to live well does not mean a long life.