Thursday, January 28, 2016

Latin Worth Knowing: Stultum est Timere Quod Vitare non Potes - It is Stupid to Fear that which you Can not Avoid...

It's a delightful quote grammatically, with infinitives abounding and exhibiting irregular verb forms well worth knowing.

Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes. 
It is foolish to fear that which you cannot avoid.
Publilius Syrus, Sententiae 752

Let's be honest, what is it that no one can avoid?


At face value, we can almost buy into the sentiment Publius Syrus states. Mark Twain said:

"I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."

But all that said, I rather enjoy my sense of consciousness. It's really all I have.

And I don't enjoy the notion that it could be snuffed out to oblivion. The difference between ten thousand years ago and now is that--I am. I think. I dream. I screw up royally, oh yes I do. But I still try. I love. I forgive.

So, I was not dead ten thousand years ago, Mr. Twain. I simply didn't exist back then. I do exist now, as you also did some years back. And I don't want that consciousness to end. Ever. It's precious to me. Again, it's all I have.

Years and years ago, children were taught to nightly pray:

"Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take."

 That's real. That's people, even young people, living the reality of their frail existence.

My own mother, of blessed memory, however, taught us a less morbid version and had us pray it nightly:

"Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
Guide me safely through the night,
Wake me with the morning light."

I am a participant in a religion, Eastern Orthodoxy to be specific. My religion teaches that my consciousness will not end upon my physical death.

Some days, I believe. Many days, I doubt. All days, I hope.

St. Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians 13:13:

"There are three things that remain: Faith, Hope, and Love. And the greatest of These is Love."

If the greatest of those is love, then it would seem to follow that hope is greater than faith.

Hope I have. And I try to love.

And so, when I die, as I unavoidably one day will, I hope it is all true. The Gospel, the Sacraments, the Story of a God-Turned-Human, the Church. 

St. Paul wrote that:

"If the dead are not raised, then Christ was not raised...and we are of all people most to be pitied." (1 Corinthians 15:16-19)

But the fact is, if death is extinction, then all of us who have ever looked into a mirror--and smiled--we are all to be pitied.

We lose nothing by hoping otherwise... 

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