Marcus Pacuvius was a Greek poet who lived from about 220-130 BC. He nearly singlehandedly carried on the tradition of the Greek tragic plays during his lifetime.
But the thing for which he may be most remembered is his daily funeral. Yes, you read that right – daily funeral.
Each day he would have a burial sacrifice prepared in his honor. People would gather and “mourn” him with wine and feasting. His servants would carry him from his bedroom to the funeral feast, while others would applaud and sing, “He has lived his life! He has lived his life!”
In this fashion, Pacuvius was carried out to his own “burial” each day.
Sure, he likely just wanted an excuse and format for a morbid party each day, but still, the idea of acknowledging one’s mortality is a powerful concept.
Let’s talk about some reasons to acknowledge our mortality daily.
People talk about “Carpe Diem” (Seize the Day). But you don’t have any push to make the most of today, if you’re ignoring your mortality as if you will live on this earth forever. Productivity, in part, comes from a sense of urgency. If you recognize each day that yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come for you, productivity will be the natural byproduct.
Recognizing our own mortality forces us to face the fact that we are not the center of the universe. Other people become more important to us, because we recognize that we will leave them – and their memories of us – behind one day. the natural outflow of a reasonable individual to being faced with their mortality is concern for those they will leave behind. By confronting our own mortality each day, we will remind ourselves to ensure that others are left better by the time they spend with us in this life.
One man said of Jesus Christ, “He left everyone He met in better shape than what He found them.” We would be wise to follow His example.
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.Acts 10:38
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
What’s after this life? What is Heaven like? Am I going there? How do I get there?
These are questions that people don’t often ask themselves, but there are answers to each of them. But, because people are lulled to sleep by the day-to-day routine of their lives, they neglect to answer the questions now that they won’t have time to ask in their last hours. Days turn into weeks, and months into years. A lifetime slips by without the curiosity to consider the big picture questions of life.
People that live happily in the shadow of their own tombstone are curious and seekers of answers to the questions that are most important.
When you can put off until tomorrow what you could do today, you’re likely to do so. But people that walk daily past their own graves become people that live lives of purpose and determination. They know what is important to them, to their family, and to the causes they support, and they’re determined to “do something that matters while I’m here.”
The closer we get to the end of our journey, the more we realize that our opinion doesn’t matter near as much as what we thought it did. “Deference” is the idea of submitting or yielding the judgment of another.
The more we are willing to live in light of our own mortality, the more we will be willing to yield to the will of God in our lives. After all, if we keep in mind that we may meet Him tomorrow, surely we’re going to be more likely to obey Him today.
But it’s not just the Creator that we become more deferential toward. Suddenly the opinions and desires of others also become a bigger factor in our lives as well.
We are all mortal. We cannot live pretending to be immortal. In fact, there are happy benefits to be gained from a life that walks through a graveyard each day on the way to live the day.
Until next time, have a happy day.