Sunday, December 28, 2008

A New Year's Project

The following was in our church bulletin a few weeks ago. First of all, I like what she says about death, for me this is a new way of looking at death.

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to do this project to leave for my family. I plan to write it in a pretty book that has blank pages for writing life story, etc. I'll leave blank pages inbetween each subject for adding to as I think of new things to write. I'm sharing this suggestion of writing Your Testament with all of you, perhaps you may want to do one for your family.

From our church bulletin:

During the last weeks of the year think about the end of time. The phrase “the end of time” may strike a chord of fear in us. A picture of a fearsome, prophetic looking man with a sign around his neck that says “the end is near!” You better pray harder!” is part of our popular culture.

For us, death is a friend, a gateway to hope.

St. Margaret of Colonna said on her deathbed, “I thank Thee, dear Lord, for having permitted my body to become weak and infirm, so that I could the more freely return my soul to Thee.” Death is our return to God, our birth into the fullness of life promised by Jesus Christ.
To help us enter into the mystery of the end of time, I would like to share with you a reflection exercise by the Jesuit writer Anthony de Mello, a priest who conducted workshops throughout the world on the subject of prayer and reflective living. This reflection tool helps us to write down the story of our life. Writing down our personal story is the best gift we can give to our families. (Fr. Al Esposito)

A Testament
I imagine that today I am to die.

I ask for time to be alone and write down for my friends a testament for which the points that follow could serve as chapter titles.

“To reveal myself openly and honestly takes the rawest kind of courage – (John Powell, SJ)

1. These things I have loved in life (things I tasted, looked at, smelled, heard, touched)

2. These experiences I have cherished:

3. These ideas have brought me liberation:

4. These beliefs I have outgrown:

5. These convictions I have lived by:

6. These are the things I have lived for:

7. These insights I have gained in the school of life;
( insights into God, the world, human nature, Jesus Christ, love, religion, prayer)

8. These risks I took, these dangers I courted:

9. These sufferings have seasoned me:

10. These lessons life has taught me:

11. These influences have shaped my life (persons, occupations, books, events):

12. These things I regret about my life:

13. These scripture texts have lit my path:

14. These are my life’s achievements:

15. These persons are enshrined within my heart:

16. These are my unfulfilled desires:

Choose an ending for your testament. A poem (my own or someone else’s), a prayer, a sketch or picture (from a magazine, etc.) a scripture text, or anything that would be an apt conclusion to my testament.
Go to Charlotte's site for more Spiritual Sunday inspiration.


Penless Thoughts said...

Thanks for posting this. I'm going to give it some thought. I have been viewing my blogging experience as something that my children will have when I am gone to look back over and reflect on.

ginger at enchanting cottage said...

What a wonderful idea!

Clif said...

Splendid idea. I am going to meditate on this over the next few days. If I do it I will edit some of the questions just a bit to make it work for me. I have a couple of books by Anthony de Mello which I like very much. I believe this is a project that all of us can profit from. Just thinking through these questions is a good thing to do. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us.

char72 said...

This sounds like such a good idea. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Happy New Year!

La Tea Dah said...

My mother wrote a book similar to this the last three months before she died. It was very meaningful to her that it be done. She had a wonderful Hospice helper who encouraged her in doing this.

Mom had other ideas as well -- and committed to making each grandchild, and each daughter a quilt. Three months and five quilts. A real work of love.