Given the attention the media has paid to the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, it’s hard for us not to think about our own mortality. There’s nothing wrong with thinking about death. In fact, if anything we should think about death more often. It helps remind us that this life is not all there is. It helps remind us that that we must prepare for the next life by living a holy life here on earth.
When we think about death, we are inclined to think about the hours, minutes and seconds leading up to it. In those moments, we will look back at those things we didn’t do but always wanted to. We will also reflect upon the things we did get a chance to do and whether or not we honored God with our actions.
All too often, when death becomes a topic of discussion in pop culture, someone is asked what they would do if they had one week to live. Unfortunately, most of the time their response includes some mention of traveling to an exotic, faraway place; attending rock concerts; eating expensive food; giving in to their sexual appetites; and enjoying alcohol as much as possible.
This utterly depressing yet all too common response indicates a worldview far more concerned with the here and now than with what comes after. It is, in other words, how Satan and those who propagate his lies want us to respond to a question like that; for it is a response that places more importance on momentary happiness than everlasting joy.
If, then, we are ever asked what we would do if we had one week to live, we should respond by saying we would spend it in prayer. We should respond by saying that we would go to mass as frequently as possible. We should respond by saying that instead of committing more sins we would spend the time we have left atoning for the countless sins we’ve already committed. As Thomas à Kempis wrote in The Imitation of Christ, man “cannot enjoy all the pleasures of this life, and also reign with Christ in Heaven.”
When Christ returns in all his glory, he will come, as 1 Thessalonians 5:2 states, like a thief in the night. Those who do not guard against the snares of the devil will spend eternity with him. On the other hand, those who live their lives according to God’s commandments will find favor with him when he returns. Prepare for that day by spending the time you have left doing those things that will ensure your salvation.