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Writing a Loving Obituary Ahead of Time

A few years ago, while they were still healthy and independent and a comfortable distance—it seemed to me—from dying, my parents asked me to write their obituaries. “I know it seems strange,” Dad said. “But we’d like to be sure that everything important gets mentioned.” After my initial discomfort with writing
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Talking About End-of-Life Decisions With Your Parent

When we were children and adolescents, our parents had the challenging responsibility of talking with us about difficult topics. Teaching us the facts of life, guiding us to choose good friends, and cautioning us about smoking and drug use were never easy discussions to have. Raising these topics was doubly hard
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Reverence: The Image of God Respected

“The younger monks must respect their seniors, and the seniors must love their juniors.” —The Rule of St. Benedict, Ch. 63 The monastery cemetery is a place of order. Four quadrants of seven rows each; nice neat rows of markers, each bearing a name and two dates; and in the middle, overlooking everything with
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Dignity: The Image of God Acknowledged

“Care of the sick must rank above and before all else, so that they may truly be served as Christ …” —The Rule of St. Benedict, Ch. 36 Among the scenes painted on the east wall of the Chapter Room at Saint Meinrad Archabbey is one of a monk who is dying in his bed. Several other monks surround him, one of whom is
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Hope: The Confidence in Something Unseen

“Never lose hope in God’s mercy.”  —The Rule of St. Benedict, Ch. 4 At one point in the ceremony in which a monk makes his final profession, he chants this verse from the Psalms: “Uphold me, O Lord, according to your promise and I shall live. And do not confound me in my expectation.” Then he lays face down on the
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