Media vita in morte sumus – in the middle of life we are in death. This antiphon is attributed to the Benedictine monk Notker ns of Saint Gall, who died in 912. Legend has actually it the the musician and poet composed it when he saw building and construction workers structure a bridge float over one abyss. Many likely, however, the chant is much older and also originated in France roughly 750. The expresses an important Christian idea that was construed for many centuries and also that we have sacrificed ~ above the altar of modern culture – that fatality is around life.

You are watching: Media vita in morte sumus translation

Different from Notker, Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote: "At death, the people does not alter yet comes come an end" (Tractatus logico-philosophicus 6.431), which implies that "death is not an occasion in life: we do not live to suffer death" (6.4311). This contemporary position is the contrary of the Christian view, i beg your pardon has always seen death not together the end of life because, in the native of the Latin Requiem Mass, vita mutatur, non tollitur – life alters, that is no taken away. If eternal life go not start at death yet continues the life we have actually led ~ above this earth, death is certainly in the middle of life, and temporal life should prepare because that death. However do us still understand this? an ext precisely, carry out we quiet live death?

Today the Church celebrates all Saints" Day, or in an older language, all Hallows" Day. Tomorrow it will certainly celebrate every Souls" Day. The very first solemnity commemorates every saints known and unknown, and the 2nd reminds us of the departed faithful who have not however been purified and reached heaven. Every Saints is an old feast going back to the 4th century, and since the saturday century has been commemorated in all of Christendom.

But us are around to shed its meaning, and one of the reasons is Halloween. As a billion-dollar secular event for children, Halloween now has actually absolutely naught to do with remembrance of the dead and celebration the the saints. One may, of course, brush Halloween off as just another show we placed on because that the kids, and there may undoubtedly be tiny harm in that. Yet in the psychic of the people, it greatly overshadows, and also has probably supplanted, every Saints" Day and All Souls" Day. Once upon a time, all Souls was about placing candle on the graves of household members and about praying for their relax from purgatory. Is it still?

Both all Saints and also All Souls are crucial occasions for mirroring on death and also its location in the midst of life. The Commemoration of every the Faithful Departed places our very own lives in a continuous of generations that is the towel of culture. Every Saints provides us mindful of those who have actually given examples of an excellent virtue, not the very least the plenty of whose stays were crowned by your deaths. Over there are couple of things an ext indispensable come believers; indeed, over there are few topics more central to western civilization. The ars moriendi to be not just for Cicero in ~ the center of his philosophy; according to Plato"s Apology and also Phaidon, Socrates, in considering the death sentence passed versus him and after drinking the cup that hemlock, didn"t regard fatality as a problem yet was concerned with even if it is one has actually led a great life.

We have actually lost the art of dying, which we should develop throughout ours lives. We have actually pushed any kind of thought of fatality far away from us, and also when faced with the inevitable, we have sanitized it. Most civilization no longer enjoy the dignity and also comfort of dice in their houses surrounded by a household that is ready to listen and also to share, to appreciate and also give thanks, and also thus to celebrate the life of the dying person. Us leave fatality to the professionals.

This might be a relief for relatives, specifically for younger ones, but it likewise keeps them unprepared for their very own departure. Much better piety is shown in the Attic steles on screen at the national Archeological Museum in Athens. These tombstones always depict 2 persons – one departing toward death and the other remaining behind. In the encounters of the latter one deserve to read the perennial questions: Where perform you go? will we ever meet again? through portraying death as the hinge in between generations, they indicate continuity.

St. Francis of Assisi is reported to have died singing God"s praise. St. Thomas more gave his executioner a item of gold. Mozart passed away over the creating of his unfinished Requiem, reaching as much as the passage Lacrimosa die illa ("that tearful day") in the Dies irae. Blessed karl of Habsburg, the critical Emperor the Austria, Apostolic King of Hungary, and also last King of Jerusalem, ~ above his deathbed in exile in Madeira summoned his boy Otto to present him, in the former monarch"s own words, "how one die as a Catholic and also as an Emperor."

Testimonies to the arts of dice are plentiful – hagiographies room indeed full of them. Yet do us still desire to listen and learn? also though several of us may have actually retained it, together a society we have actually lost the art of dice that also the pagan Greeks knew well. This is what the 2 feastdays have to be about. Instead, also theology too often ignores – or worse, trivializes – death by relegating it from dogmatic theology to a issue of merely pastoral concern. No longer do "progressive" theologians speak about the last things – death, judgment, heaven, and hell. And yet these things lie in ~ the center of our humanity.

Reevangelizing our culture also means rediscovering these 2 solemnities and also their true meaning. Both feasts together place death again where it belonging – not at the margin but in the midst of our lives. Eschatology is an enig and yet reality, and it is a centerpiece of our culture. The Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who was himself a quite tenuous Catholic, offered this believed expression in his poem Schlu�st�ck ("Final Piece"), with clear reference to the old antiphon:

Der Tod ist gro�.Wir sind die Seinenlachenden Munds.Wenn wir uns mitten im Leben meinen,wagt er zu weinenmitten in uns.

See more: What Is The Song Snuff About, Snuff Lyrics By Slipknot, 8 Meanings

Death is great. / We are in his store / Laughing galore. / when we deem ourself deep / In life the dares weep / Deep in our core.