At the end of the 15th century, a Castilian nobleman called Jorge Manrique composed an elegy to lament the death of his father and praise his virtues. At first sight, it doesn’t seem like such a work has anything to say to a normal person in 2019. However, the Stanzas about the Death of His Father are directly related to the deepest concerns and desires of today’s men, since in fact those are no more and no less the same than those of men of all times. If any time, in the midst of the nonstop whirlwind, you stop for a moment and think: “but what on earth am I doing with my life?”, reading the Stanzas might be a good therapy.
We start with birth upon that questing;
We journey all the while we live,
Our goal attaining
The day alone that brings us resting,
When Death shall last quiétus give
To all complaining.
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This book, in just 50 stanzas, teaches us to live a life that’s worth living, that’s going to leave a mark in the world, and to be the precursor to a good death to achieve eternal glory in Heaven.
It’s a whole life program and a paradigm about existence that’s worth bringing to mind in the midst of this world where we live, in which we’re offered many things, but most of them are quite empty and ephemeral. Where our priorities are often disordered and there reigns a state of confusion due to a frenzy way of living combined with a lack of deep answers.
It’s also a great reading for all those of us who struggle to face with fortitude the reality of death. An invitation to arm yourself with courage and hope, knowing that there’s nothing to think about, that God, Who loves us infinitely and is almighty, is our goal.
Do you dare to confront the way you’re living with what this wise work proposes?