Carpe Diem Coram Deo

Posted: April 13, 2015 in Christian, Leadership
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Like many others, of a certain age, I was introduced to the Latin phrase “Carpe diem” by the movie, Dead Poets Society (1989, Touchstone Pictures).  In the movie, English teacher John Keating (played by Robin Williams) inspires his students to discover their love for poetry and seize the day.

Taking his students on a tour of the school grounds, Keating pauses at a display of classical poets.  It is here that he introduces his students to this inspiring phrase.  As the class stands looking at the memorial displayed, Keating makes a profound comparison of the poets and his students:

“They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you. Their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – – Carpe – – hear it? – – Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”

Carpe diem, seize the day. It was and is an inspiring reminder to make the time we have worth something.

Carpe diem is not circumstantial, happenstancal, or even accidental. Carpe diem is intentional. Carpe diem is an intentional attitude of making every moment of every day matter.

More recently, while reading some of the devotional writings of R. C. Sproul, I was introduced to another Latin phrase Coram Deo.  Coram Deo literally means in the presence of God.  Coram Deo is another intentional action.  Coram Deo means an intentional movement toward and within the presence of God.

Now, I have not thought about Dead Poets Society in many years.  When I read this Latin reference in Sproul’s writings, it triggered something in my memory.  I began to remember the challenging words of John Keating inspiring his students. Carpe diem. Carpe diem!

I continued to think on these seemingly different settings, I began to put these phrases together:

Carpe diem – Seize the day

Coram Deo – In the presence of God

Carpe diem Coram Deo – Seize the day in the presence of God.

Seize the day in the presence of God.  Carpe diem Coram Deo.  How interesting that sounded as I rolled the phrase around in my head.

Could I find examples encouraging us to live it out? Carpe diem Coram Deo.

How about these:

Psalms 91:10, 12 (a Psalm of Moses) – The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away. So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Ephesians 5:15-17 – See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Luke 9:62 – But Jesus (referring to the costs of discipleship) said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Philippians 3:12-14 – Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 – Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.

So, here we have the words of the Prophet Moses, the Apostle Paul, Doctor Luke, King David, King Solomon and our Savior Jesus Christ encouraging us to seize the day (Carpe diem) in the presence of God (Coram Deo).

Carpe diem Coram Deo. Carpe diem Coram Deo!

Are there other references?  I’m sure there are many.  Feel free to add more.

But, let these words encourage, inspire, empower and propel you.  Carpe diem Coram Deo.

Carpe diem Coram Deo.  Seize the day in the presence of God.

What is God calling you to seize from this day? Take hold of it.  Seize the day, while it is still here. Grasp it for everything its worth.  Take hold of its full potential.  This is a day like any other, it has the potential for extraordinary things.  It is up to each of us release the extraordinary from the ordinary out of this day.

As Keating inspired his students and our heroes of Scripture inspire us as well:  Make your life extraordinary…                             for the glory of our Lord.

Carpe diem Coram Deo.


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