Archive for September 20th, 2020

Thoughts in Quarantine


Written by Os Guiness. A contemporary Christian author and social critic. This is an excerpt from his work “Purposeful Living for Today and Beyond.”

I’m speaking from quarantine to all of you presumably in quarantine. I think the heart of the challenge of the pandemic is that it strikes at modernity’s love of control, mastery — control through reason, science, technology, management — and suddenly the angel of death arrives and we realize we’re not in control. So it’s an extraordinary time for reflection and self-examination. I’ve certainly tried to think of it that way. We can think of it in terms of, say, America and the Western world, or the global world, or we can think of it as we’re doing this today in terms of our individual, personal lives.

I start my book, Carpe Diem Redeemed, with a time when I was on the Eurostar, going from Brussels to London. As you come into St. Pancras station, there are a number of dilapidated Victorian buildings splattered with graffiti. One of them reads like this: “You only live once, and it doesn’t last. So live it up. Drink it down. Laugh it off. Burn it at both ends. You can’t take it with you. You only live once.”  Now that of course was the famous YOLO philosophy (“You Only Live Once”). Many people who followed — they knew it came from the Greeks: “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” But what many people forget is that one of the original formulations was “You only live once — if then.” In other words, life is short, life is fragile, life is vulnerable, and the question is, How do we live it well? And how do we make sense of it in order to live it well?  I think we have to start thinking it through for ourselves, each of us, and I include myself, because we’re all in this world where life is short and fragile and vulnerable. 


From The Mozarabic Rite, also called the Visigothic Rite or the Hispanic Rite, is a liturgical rite of the Latin Church once used generally in the Iberian Peninsula (Hispania), in what is now Spain and Portugal in the 500s.

O God,

you are the well of life,

and in your light we see light.

Shine the light of your holy knowledge on us

and show us your flowing fountain.

Give our thirsty souls living water

and shine your light from heaven on our darkened minds;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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