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When tomorrow never Came

 

Mors Stupebit (Death has Struck)

 

 

          Mors Stupebit - Death has struck - from Dies Irae
 

Vidi impium superexaltatum, et elevatum sicut cedros Libani; et transivi,
et ecce non erat; et quaesivi eum, et non est inventus locus ejus.
(Psalm 36.35-36)

_______________________________________________________________

I have seen the wicked highly exalted, and lifted up like the cedars of Lebanon.
And I passed by, and lo, he was not: and I sought him and his place was not found.


 

You have already heard that sonorous sound as of a distant trumpet. It is indistinct, distant, and carries a somber semibreve that every man who has ever lived has heard. For some it is an ominous bray, immeasurably deep, tremulous and harsh, muted only by the depths of earth through which it breasts in mighty fissures that close again in the last sounding leaving graves quivering in anticipation. 

It strikes the lowest chords in the human heart and is ancient beyond the sum of all years.

You do not hear it with your ears but with the deepest listening in your being. It somehow resembles the final muttering of thunder in a vast distance that reverberates through the earth. It is a call, you realize, of something to come.

It resonates in the darkest chambers of your soul. It is primeval. Instantly you understand it as a prophetic summons.

It percolates through every language of man and is comprehensible to all:  It is alternately a prophesy, a promise, a hope or a threat, and all are unmistakably certain: You will die.

The profound, immeasurable depth of the sound is the gathered timelessness of that existential refrain: all men have died or will die. And so will you. It bears the unsustainable weight of eternity.

Have you begun vainly reflecting upon your mark in the world — how the world will remember you — in that tomorrow that one day will not come for you — at least in this world?

It will not, despite all your pretensions. Most of us — the vast majority of us — are not momentous figures in the annals of history, and even were we, we would never know, being dead. What is more, the world will end, and with it, all remembrance of famous and infamous figures ... and us. It is of no significance to be remembered by the world after we are dead — but it is of the greatest significance to be known by God, and to never hear those terrible words that will be uttered by Christ to many in the Last Judgment: “I never knew you: depart from Me” (Saint Matthew 7.22).

The very ancient Sequence Dies Irae (Day of Wrath) which was sung for centuries in the Requiem Mass, or Mass for the Dead (Missa pro defunctis) describes it succinctly in the fourth stanza:

Mors stupebit et natura,
Cum resurget creatura,
Judicanti responsura.

Death is struck, and nature quaking,
All creation is awaking,
To its Judge an answer making.

It is worth pondering. In fact, we must deeply reflect upon it — while we can.



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Scio opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem, et servasti verbum Meum, nec non negasti Nomen Meum 
I know your works ... that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name. (Apocalypse 3.8)

 

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