Kathy Schiffer is a Catholic blogger. In addition to her blog Seasons of Grace, her articles have appeared in the National Catholic Register, Aleteia, Zenit, the Michigan Catholic, Legatus Magazine, and other Catholic publications. She’s worked for Catholic and other Christian ministries since 1988, as radio producer, director of special events and media relations coordinator. Kathy and her husband, Deacon Jerry Schiffer, have three adult children.
On Nov. 22, 1963–some 56 years ago–three famous individuals died on the same day.
- One, of course, was U.S. President JOHN F. KENNEDY, whose life was ended when a shot rang out from the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas.
- British writer and Christian apologist CLIVE STAPLES LEWIS died of end-stage renal failure. Lewis is best known for his fictional work including The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy, and for his nonfiction Christian apologetics, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain.
- And ALDOUS HUXLEY, British writer and philosopher best known for his novel Brave New World, died of laryngeal cancer.
Peter Kreeft, in his 1982 book Between Heaven and Hell, imagined a conversation among the three men when they found themselves together at the gates of heaven. In Kreeft’s book, the newly dead John F. Kennedy, Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis engage in what might be called a modern-day Socratic dialogue.
- President Kennedy was, in Kreeft’s estimation, a humanistic Christian;
- Huxley was an Eastern pantheist; and
- Lewis, a Christian theist.
They ask themselves and one another important questions: Does human life have meaning? Who was Jesus? And what does he mean to us today?
We need to ask ourselves these questions, too. So many people seem to plod along, asking themselves only whether they should buy the sportscar or the family van, the cheeseburger or the salad plate. The deeper questions about the Four Last Things (Death, Judgment, Hell and Heaven) are obscured by modernity’s quest for fashion and fun.
Reflecting on the three deaths can be a sober reminder of our own destiny. Each year on Ash Wednesday the priest, deacon or layperson marks our foreheads with an ashen cross. “Remember,” he says, “you are dust and to dust you will return.”