"In the desert tradition, death is a companion, a friend. St. Francis of Assisi called death 'sister.' He was a believer of extraordinary power, at home with the desert way of believing. Death, far from being the terror we encounter at the end of our earthly existence, is the companion and friend who walks with us now. Sister Death is with us always. Her shadow marks and influences every moment.

"To live our life from the point of view of our death is not necessarily a capitulation to despair, to withdrawal, to passivity. Rather, it can become the basis for our being and doing in the world. The more we refuse to look at our own death, the more we repress and deny new possibilities for living. We are all going to die, and our life is a movement to that sure end. Believers find that meditation on this simple fact has a wonderful way of clearing the mind! It enables them to live every single moment with new appreciation and delight. When I say to myself, 'This moment may be my last,' I am able to see the world with new eyes."

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