In The Imitation of Christ Thomas Kempis writes, “And between feasts, we ought to set up a plan as if at that very moment we were to depart this world and arrive at the eternal feast day.” (Book 1, chapter 19)
Fr. John-Julian in his commentary on this passage says, “Thomas here engages in a comon medieval counsel, usually called momento mori, or ‘Remember death!’ It is based on Sirach 7:40 (‘In all you do, remember the end of your life, and you will never sin.’) It showed in paintings (often with skulls), on ‘cadaver tombs’ (with the dead portrayed as a decayed corpse or a skeleton), even on clocks where ultimas forsan? (‘Perhaps the last hour?’) appeared.” (50)
My coworker Josh found me a picture of an old sun dial that had inscripted on it ‘Horæ omnes vulnerant, ultima necat’ which translates ‘Every hour wounds, the last kills.”
I asked Josh if he would create a picture of a clock with ultimas forsan? on it. Here’s what he gave me. I love it.