Skulls and skeletons are often used during Halloween, but can also help us remember our own mortality.
One of the most used decorations for Halloween is a skeleton, or sometimes just the skull. The secular celebration of Halloween has become a celebration focused on death and all that is related to it.
Halloween is a day in popular culture when many people visualize their fears, and death is a fear that many people continue to struggle with. Usually, we don’t want to die because we may not be sure what will happen to us when our time on earth is over.
However, in the Christian tradition, death is something that must remain in our minds on a daily basis.
For example, Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble points out in an article she wrote for Aleteia why we should focus on death in a positive way.
Focusing on your death can seem morbid, unhealthy, disturbing, and perhaps even devilish. And in some cases, it can be. Death in itself is evil. Saint Augustine wrote that death is “the very violence with which body and soul are torn apart.” But Jesus changed the nature of death for those who believe … The practice of remembering that you are going to die helps you keep in mind that your life is about to end and that it has one purpose: Heaven.
Even the Rule of Saint Benedict exhorts monks to “keep death in front of your eyes every day. “
One way to do this is to keep those Halloween skulls or skeletons year round!
According to Sr. Thérèse, “Pope Alexander VII commissioned the Italian artist Bernini to make A coffin that he kept in his room with a marble skull for his desk to remind him of the brevity of life.
Although not all Halloween skulls or skeletons are suitable, the simpler ones can be used to respect the dignity of the human person, but also to remind us of our future death.
We will all die, some will die today, while others will die at some point in the future. The good news is that Jesus Christ overcame death and in this regard we can expect death.
Remembering our own death can help shape our daily actions, as we recognize that our lives on earth are only temporary and are meant to lead us to eternal bliss in heaven.