World Without End

I start my prayers with the familiar opening –

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be – world without end – Amen.

This is often almost an automatic, unthinking recital, but this time I stopped at the final phrase – world without end. What does that actually mean? I had always assumed it implied a cosmic scale, that the universe was, and is, everlasting – on this occasion it struck me that it also refers to my own existence, that my world, my life, is “without end”.  Do I believe that?  Do I want to believe it?

People do want to stay alive,, and it is only in desperation, or mental sickness, that anyone considers taking their own life.  I have occasionally thought of it, but never taken any practical steps towards suicide.  On the other hand, I have often felt that an end to life would be a great release – not that it would lead to something better, but that it would simply put an end to an existence that I often find burdensome.

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