Dying well means different things to us all. Death is an individual experience, but a community of accompaniment on the journey can help us to prepare by bringing consolation and spiritual peace.
The Ars Moriendi or 'Art of Dying' was a very popular fifteenth century manuscript designed to bring Christian comfort and practical guidance to a dying person and his/her family.
The original Latin texts and illustrations offered advice on the protocols and procedures for a good death. Key content included deathbed etiquette and prayers, as well as the five temptations that a dying person might face and the prescribed antidotes.
The Ars Moriendi illustrated some fairly turbulent scenes, such as the devil trying to snare the soul of a dying man and battles raging between the angels and the demons at the deathbed. These works were popular and visceral because death was daily on the doorstep.
The Catholic Church has 2,000 years' worth of experience of helping people to die in peace and a treasury of resources and reflections on death, dying and eternity that the Bishops of England and Wales would like to open up to everyone.
Inspired by the comfort provided by this popular work, they have produced an innovative new digital space on the subject of 'Dying Well'. The Art of Dying Well is a new website that offers a helping hand to those grappling with issues around death and dying.
Based in the Catholic tradition but open to all, it features real-life stories about the highs and lows of dealing with the final journey. Professionals in palliative care, ethics, chaplaincy and history have informed the site content.
The month of November in the Catholic Church is dedicated to praying for the dead and is the traditional time to visit the graves of loved ones. It is commonly known as the Month of the Dead. We are invited most particularly during this month to remember and pray for our friends and family who have died and for those who have no one to remember them.
Visit the website here