Memento mori (literally, “remember that you have to die”) is an ancient practice of reflection on mortality, the reminder that this life is not forever. French painter Philippe de Champaigne illustrated it in his painting Still Life with a Skull, showing the three essentials of existence: a tulip (life), a skull (death), and an hourglass (time). The practice isn’t meant to be depressing, but rather to remind us of where our real life lies.
- Remember that every day on earth is a gift from God. How many people died in their sleep last night? You weren’t one of them. Wake up with a sense of gratitude.
- Keep this life in perspective. When someone angers you or hurts you, step back from it. Will it matter a year from now? Ten years from now? Take the long view.
- If you were to die today, what would be left unsaid, what would be left undone? Make a list, and start crossing items off.
Scripture tells us that we never know when God might call us home to live with him in eternity. Memento mori is a practice that reminds us of that, every day. We are just passing through this life: our real home is in heaven.