Episode 55 | Being, Living and Dying Well with Lydia Dugdale

Being, Living, and Dying Well with Lydia Dugdale

In the wake of the Black Plague of the middle ages, people cried out for help to die well. What developed over the ensuing centuries was a work called the Ars Moriendi, a book designed to help Christians die well. In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 we were joined by professor and physician Lydia Dugdale to discuss her book The Lost Art of Dying Well which explores the wisdom of the Ars Moriendi:

“The Christian theology about death is one of paradox in many ways. Death is overcome. That is what Christians celebrate on Easter Sunday. But death still has a sting. It still is bitter. It hurts, it rips, a hole in the fabric of our lives. And so we hold in tension this idea that death has this sting, but also is ultimately overcome. So we don’t need to accept death, but we need to start by acknowledging finitude.”

Acknowledging our Finitude and Call for Community

Over the course of our conversation, Lydia explains how acknowledging our finitude and investing in our community are the two crucial first steps in preparing to die well. And these steps in preparation for a good death ultimately help us to live well too. We trust you’ll find much to think about and wrestle with in this conversation, and we hope it inspires you to live wisely and well today.

This podcast is an edited version of an Online Conversation with Lydia recorded on Good Friday in April of 2021. You can access the full conversation with transcript here. Learn more about Lydia Dugdale.

Authors and books mentioned in the conversation:

Philippe Ariès

Related Trinity Forum Readings:

On Happiness, by Thomas Aquinas
On Friendship, by Cicero
Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl
The Long Loneliness, by Dorothy Day
Wrestling with God, by Simone Weil
Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens

Related Conversations:

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Special thanks to Ned Bustard for our podcast artwork.