Monday, July 20, 2015

A Meditation on Death on My 41st Birthday

A short time is all there is you have here.  What is in store for you afterwards?  Here today, gone tomorrow.  When out of sight, you are soon out of mind.

How dull and insensible a man's heart thinking only of the present and not caring about what is to come.  Your every thought and action should be that of a man who is to die this day.  If you had a good conscience you would not especially fear death; indeed, it is easier to fly from sin than to flee death.

If you are not prepared to die today, will you be prepared tomorrow?  Tomorrow is still uncertain, and how do you know you will see tomorrow?

What advantage is there in living a long life and, at the same time, to make so little progress?  A long life does not always make us perfect; unfortunately, it often increases our guilt.  If we could only point to a single day well lived!  We count the anniversaries since our conversion to God, and they are many, but we have so little to show for them.

If dying is a frightful thing, perhaps, it is even more frightful to live a long time.  Blessed is he who has the hour of death always before his eyes and daily prepares for it.  Have you ever seen anyone die?  You too will travel the same road.

When you rise in the morning, think that you will not see evening; and when evening comes, do not be too certain that you will rise in the morning.  Be always ready, therefore, and so live that death may not find you unprepared.  For many, death comes suddenly and unexpectedly; the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.  When your final hour arrives you will view your past life very differently, and your sorrow will be great for having been so easygoing and lackadaisical.

Wise and blessed is he who, during life, strives to be what he would like to be when death finds him.  Yes, you can be assured of a happy death if you wholeheartedly despise the world, earnestly desire to advance in virtue, love discipline, dwell in repentance, show prompt obedience, exercise self-denial, and patiently bear all trials for the love of Christ.

While you enjoy good health you can perform many good works, but when you are ill, I know not how many you will be able to do.  Few men gain by being sick, just as few pilgrims become saints by frequently taking to the roads.

Do not postpose your soul's salvation to a later date, nor depend on your friends and neighbors, for they will forget you sooner than you think.  It is better to make provision during your own lifetime by sending good works ahead of you, than to count on another's help after your death.  If you show no solicitude about yourself today, who will care about you later on?  The present time is invaluable; behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Too bad that you are not making the best use of your life, for you could be gaining eternal life.  The time will come when you wish you had a single day, or even an hour, to put yourself in order, but I honestly cannot say whether that day or hour will be given to you.

Listen!  You can free yourself from the danger of an unprovided death, and you can deliver yourself from so frightening a terror.  How?  ALWAYS THINK OF DEATH!  Live your present life in such a way that at death's hour you will be filled with joy and not overcome by panic.  Die to the world now, and you will later live with Christ.  Despise the world now, and you will later go to Christ free of all the world's entangling chains.  Bring your body into subjection by penance now, and in the end you will feel assured.

You fool!  Why count on living a long time when you have no guarantee that you will live a single day more?  Many presumed they would have a long life, but oh, how deceived they were, for how abruptly they were taken from this earth.

You have frequently heard it said that some individual was killed by someone, or that another drowned, or that a third, falling from a great height, broke his neck, or still another choked while eating, or that someone met his death playing some game or other.

EVERYONE MEETS DEATH.  Some die by fire and some by the sword; some by the plague and some at the hands of robbers.  In the end, every man's life vanishes as quickly as does a shadow.

Who will remember you when you are dead, and who will pray for you?  Hence, my friend, do now all that you can, for you know not when you will die, nor what your eternal lot will be. 

While you have the time, gather an everlasting treasure for yourself; let salvation be your only thought and the things of God your only concern.  And win friends for yourself among God's saints, honoring them and imitating their deeds so that when you do leave this life they may receive you in the eternal habitations.

Live as becomes a pilgrim and a stranger on earth, unconcerned about the world's cares, and keep your heart free and raised to God, for this earth or ours is no lasting city.  Daily send your prayers, tears, and sighs heavenwards, asking that after death your soul may worthily and happily be united to our Lord.


No comments:

Post a Comment