It is strange that we aren’t fully living unless we are dying each and every day. Life is so paradoxical. If we want to truly live, we must love. We live to love. That’s why God made us with the nature that we have. But, love means sacrifice — we don’t truly love another until we are willing to sacrifice our desires and inclinations for the good of the other. Love means sacrifice of self, and this sacrifice means death. We must die to self, if we want to love another.
There is almost no limit to the forms this death can take. There is death through monotony — being killed by the daily humdrum duties asked of us, always waiting for something fun or exciting to take place, but suffering from constant disappointment as we realize God just wants our fidelity and perseverance through all of the monotony. There is death through neglect — dying because we are overlooked, because we don’t receive the attention or affection that we crave from others. We want to be affirmed or validated by others, especially by those we care about the most, but then we don’t receive the kindness or generosity that we were hoping for, and this can be absolutely mortifying; and the more sensitive the person, the more painful the experience. There is death by loss and self-denial — losing a real and integral part of ourselves, either through the death of a loved one, or through a sacrifice that is asked of us permanently, which makes certain hopes impossible of attainment. Through all these things we can truly say with St. Paul: I die each day.
However, all is not lost. It is true, this daily death can pull us down into a spirit of misery, bitterness, and ingratitude. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can choose to react in a different way. This daily death can even be used to help us find peace, joy, meaning, and fulfillment in our life. To do this, we must let our daily death turn us towards the death of Christ — especially Christ in the Eucharist. There we find the soul of Christ suffering a daily and constant “death” — death through loneliness, death through the ingratitude and carelessness of the men for whom He died, death through the painful disbelief and doubt of those who lose their faith and trust in Him. But Christ endures this, and He endures it every day. He offers it for us, and uses this daily death as an opportunity to continually express His Love for us. And we can do the same. We can see each new day with its sufferings and death as one more opportunity to deeply prove our love for our God and others. This day might be the last chance we have. We don’t know when that day of real death will come for us. Each morning, when we wake from our sleep, we can fall into sadness at the thought of the impending and seemingly unending suffering of the day ahead of us; or, we can do our best to thank God for one more day, one more chance, one more opportunity to suffer and die with Him, one more day in which to manifest our love for all those dearest to our heart.