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On the Brink of Everything by Parker J. Palmer

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VII. Over the Edge

Where We Go When We Die

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Introduction

At some point in my forties, I was introduced to the Rule of Saint Benedict, a spiritual classic, “written by Benedict of Nursia (c. AD 480–550) for monks living communally under the authority of an abbot [or abbess].”1 The Rule became the basis for the Order of Saint Benedict, a community very much alive today around the world.2

One of Benedict’s precepts instructs the monks to “keep death daily before one’s eyes.”3 The first time I read that line, it struck me as a bummer. Why should I look away from my vital and engaged life to contemplate my mortality? Now that some years have passed, ...

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