Grace: To desire to reform my life and renew my relationship with Christ, recognizing that life is short and I will be judged by the Lord after death.
Text for Prayer: Luke 12:16-21
Reflection: Benjamin Franklin once wrote to Jean-Baptiste LeRoy, a prominent scientist during Enlightenment France, “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
Since the tax return deadline, April 15, is still a ways out, let us leave taxes on the sidelines and ponder the certainty of death.
During the past few days, we have been reflecting on the nature of sin: the sin of the angels, the sin of Adam and Eve, mortal and venial sin, the influence of tepidity, and our own sinfulness. One of the consequences of sin is the certainty of death for all living creatures. “The Lord God gave the man this order: ‘You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; when you eat from it you shall die’” (Gen. 2:16-17). The disobedience of Adam and Eve resulted in the consequence of death.
Death is not only certain but sudden.
“One day, my soul, you must depart from this body. When will it be? In winter or summer? In town or country? During the day or night? With or without warning? As a result of illness or accident? Shall I have a chance to go to confession?…Unhappily, I know none of these things; only one thing is certain: I will die, and sooner than I imagine.”
St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, pp. 30-31.
Society has an aversion to death and anything resembling mortality, whether it be through age, appearance or illness. There is an emphasis on looking younger through makeup, dress and other artificial means. Our culture clings to this life because it lacks the hope of a life greater than what can be found in this world. Those who are of this world have rejected Christ and thus are living in ignorance and denial of His Lordship. They reject Christ’s authority both to judge and to save all from final damnation.
Clinging to mortality, possessions and honors is useless. None of these things can secure for us certitude in the length of our life nor guarantee us a favorable departure from this world.
“…and I shall say to myself, ‘Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!’ But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’” (Luke 12:19-20).
When we die, we will go before our Lord Jesus Christ, who will review with us our life and judge us according to our faith and its lived practice. Perhaps praying again with Matthew 25: 31-46, the passage proposed by Stephen Kramer on February 28, might help us recognize that our actions, both good and bad, are inevitably directed toward Jesus.
We must not forget that the God who created us out of love, regarding each one of us with tender kindness, is the same God who will judge us at the end of our lives.
Questions: Jesus wants me to share eternal life with Him. Do I want to live my faith in a manner that will form me to share that same desire with Christ?
Recognizing that death is real, certain and inevitable, how do I propose to live each day to better praise, reverence and serve the God who formed me, who cares for me and who will judge me?