Those who care for the dying say that the most important ingredient in a good death is meaning. And meaning means connection. The sense of belonging, of being linked to another or to otherness itself. Meaning is more than explanation. Explanations, dogma, ring hollow at such times of unavoidable encounter with reality. (How we do anything to avoid reality!) At these times we find ourselves totally defenseless and exposed in front of the tribunal of reality. Concept turns into truth and we’d like to run as far away from it as possible. It is the totality of it that matters, and this makes the Passion of the Christ so absolute and so much of a portal for all humanity to enter utter, undifferentiated, stark reality. Then we are led into a form of experience so outside our realm of comfort and familiarity that we can neither explain nor control it. It just happens—a devastating loss or disappointment, a reversal of expectations or dreams, a turning upside down of, well, everything. At such times our only defense is our sense of defenselessness. Because it is the only thing there is, it is the most authentic thing we can identify with. Not just our weakness, but our acceptance of our weakness, proves—against all the odds—to be our strength and resilience. This transports us from the universe of the ego—which is a reflection and false representation of reality—into another world.
—from the book Sensing God: Learning to Meditate during Lent by Laurence Freeman, OSB