jack’s thoughts on death

Steve McKindley-Ward was one of the Pilgrims who made the walk with Father Jack Morris, S.J. to Bethlehem in 1982 – 83. When Steve’s father died in 2008, Jack offered this image of death in a letter to Steve.


“I have this image of death.  I see myself on this train—I have a window seat—comfortable and pleasant, as I gaze out seeing mountains and plains, small towns and running streams, tall trees, bushes and grass—so many different greens.  Oh, I have my coffee, I snooze, and feel so very loose and comfortable knowing that I’m far closer to my destination than to where I got on the train.  I have this growing awareness that one day the train-man (or woman) will come into my car and in a firm, clear voice announce, “Next stop, Fr. Jack Morris!”  I’ll smile and instinctively reach down and check my luggage.  But I’ll smile more broadly as I realize that I don’t have a blessed thing.  The train will jerk and slow down, and jumping jeepers I’m floating down the aisle;  the train stops, the door opens, I float out noticing the absolutely beautiful meadow, the running stream, behind are orchards and hills, then lofty snow-covered mountains, and a pure blue sky.  Birds are singing.  So many people are rushing to the train—Holy Moses—it’s family, Jesuits, friends;  by god, there’s old Fr. George Zabelka—so many others.  Some are singing, some dancing, some bringing flowers.  The music is out of this world.  It’s all rather heavenly.  Only then do I realize it’s like Paradise!  No one has anything to hide.  We’re all perfectly free.”

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