Hurtling Toward Your Own Death

02/04/2014

This past month… really the past two months have been a blur.

Dad entered the hospital on Friday, December 13.  Diuretics helped him lose more than 11 pounds in about four days.  He came home, but he still wasn’t himself.

Mom was stressed with the bustle of the Christmas season.  Heck, she had barely recuperated from Thanksgiving.  Mom always hosts Thanksgiving and she does the lion’s share of the cooking and all the preparing.  It’s been that way for decades.  She loves it.  Mom and Dad love to entertain.

But the toll of all the stress finally caught up with Mom.  On December 29, she was hospitalized.  It was Dad who played caregiver.

The following Meditation for Spiritual Growth is for Saturday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time (The Vatican II Weekday Missal, prepared by the Daughters of St Paul, p. 328):

(Death)  —  How tempting, how deceptively easy it is to put off thinking of our own death.  Our days are full; life is distracting; at all times there are so many other lighter, lesser thoughts to think about.  So, just as much as we bury the dead do we bury the thought of our own personal death.  We find ourselves reading obituaries, attending wakes, going to funerals of people of our own generation; yet somehow we can avoid the thought of our own dying.  How true is the saying of La Rochefoucauld: “We can look neither at the sun nor at death steadily.”

Yet we know that this interstate highway of life, down which we are traveling at full speed, ends at a precipice over one of the hills just ahead.  Our imagination has erected a large paper sign across the road in front of the precipice.  That paper sign may picture the road as continuing on and winding away to infinity, but we shall crash through the paper and will go down the precipice, as do all mortal men.

I’ll have something to add to this later, but I wanted to post it immediately.

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How Do You Spend YOUR Time and Eternity?

02/01/2014

Our family’s journey with Dad the last month or so has taken an emotional toll on each of us.  If you know me well, you know I rely heavily on my unwavering faith in God.  Few of you know the battle that rages beneath the surface.

Lately, one of the raging battles I’m waging is highest and best use.  Of whatever I’ve been given.  When I think back on my 55 plus years of life, it’s easy to dwell on missed opportunities and missteps.  We’ve all heard the adage “those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”  We know that yesterday is gone, tomorrow is but a promise, all we have is today — this moment — and that’s why we call it the present.  It’s easy to get caught up in the triteness and tripe.

What’s more difficult is making sense of present desire, need, and obligation.  Physical and spiritual.

My morning routine includes prayer, meditation, and contemplation.  I won’t get into all of it, but in part, I’m seeking inspiration, guidance, and answers.  Some days are difficult.  I go through the motions and am distracted by tasks at hand or wandering thoughts.  Other days, I actually listen and what I hear is… well, awesome.

Yesterday was one of those days.

You know I like my daily missal.  Weekdays, there’s a meditation that follows the daily Mass readings.

Yesterday’s Meditation for Spiritual Growth is a quote from Rev. James Alberione, SSP, STD (Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time, The Vatican II Weekday Missal, prepared by the Daughters of St Paul, pp. 323-324).  He said:

(Time and Eternity) – “Let’s not waste either time or energy or the qualities and gifts God has given us. Let’s not waste our health and time; rather, let’s spend them all for God! During our earthly pilgrimage, let’s derive merit from everything we meet along the way – everything! Gather from the left and from the right – all can be precious gold for paradise. We are pilgrims, walking towards our true home. While we work with our hands, lets’ raise our hearts and minds to heaven. What I am saying is that all our strivings should be directed towards enriching ourselves with merits so that we do not reach our destination with nothing or with very little in our hands. Earn all we can!”

So what are you supposed to earn?  What’s filling your hands?  Dollars?  Friends?  Happiness?

What qualities and gifts do you have to offer?  How can you offer them?  Not tomorrow.  Today.

Who will cross your path today?  Will you have time for them?  Will they be bothersome?  Do you ask what you can get from them or do you ask what they need from you?  Is it a conscious choice?  Does it work both ways?  Will they consider you a burden to them?

We are all given a finite number of days on this planet.  Each day that passes is one less to fulfill our mission.  What’s yours?

What’s your why?  Why are you here?

What’s your what?  What do you have to offer?

What drives you?  Don’t discount that!  For within your deepest drives and desires lies the answers to your why and your what.

Our days are filled with choices.  Our daily choices fill our years and we blaze our path based on them.  Our choices become our eternity.

How do you spend your time?

Are you happy with your eternity?

Can you change it?

Do you have time today?  God willing, will you have time tomorrow?

As long as God gifts us another present, the answer is yes.

In the days ahead, I’ll share my mission with my finite days.  I hope to help you with some part of my mission.

In the meantime, keep sharing with those that cross your daily path.  Thank them for their contribution to your eternity.

Although, you may want to think of a better way to say it.  They may look at you cross-eyed if you say “thanks for contributing to my eternity.”


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