The practice of meditating upon one’s death has been common in the Church for centuries, and daily prayers for the dead are part of the routine for many religious orders. In Catholic art, many saints are depicted holding a skull as a reminder of their death and the importance of preparing for a final encounter with God.
While death can certainly be an uncomfortable topic to think about, it is far from a morbid subject in the mind of the Church. Noble said that she believes that as Christians, “we are not just meditating on the reality of death but on Christ’s victory over death.”
With this in mind, Noble said that meditating about death is actually a “hope-filled practice.”
“Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote that ‘Christ died so that by dying he might deliver us from the fear of death,’” she said. The practice of memento mori, she said, “helps us to make that journey from fear to hope.”
Since starting her tweets, Noble told CNA that hundreds of people have sent her pictures of their own memento mori skulls, and that many people have seen the spiritual fruits that come along with meditating on their own death.
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“One man told me that he had been suffering from insomnia and serious anxiety and had stopped going to church,” she said.
“But one Sunday he decided to go after seeing one of my tweets. As he walked into the church, the priest was saying an exact phrase from a Bible passage that I had tweeted earlier. The man felt God speaking to him in that moment through that ‘coincidence.’ He started going to Mass and meditating on his death, and his insomnia disappeared. God can work powerfully in people's lives through memento mori.”
With the journal and devotional she is now writing, Noble says she wants to help people with the spiritual practice of meditating on one’s death “with something more substantive than my tweets.”