Catholic on purpose

little moments full of grace

Empty Pursuits, Regret, and Death

Imagine you are on your death bed. The world is quickly passing you by and everything you’ve held important is going to be ripped away from you. Imagine those finals breaths you’re struggling to breathe and all the regrets consuming your mind. Maybe you won’t regret the things you’ve done. But will you wish you did more?

Your worldly accomplishments will not matter as much as the love you’ve given away. Did you love your people as much as you possibly could? Did you give all of yourself to those in need or those who are hurting? Were your eyes fixed on heaven or on yourself? Vanity, earthly possessions, and shallow friendships consume our worlds. They all matter very little when you’re facing death.

This feels like a dark blog post – why are we talking about death? Death is waiting for us all and it puts everything in perspective. When I’m in my final moments I hope I’m not laying there in regret. I hope I’m not consumed by the things I couldn’t let go of and the people I pushed away because they were hard to love. I hope I don’t look back on these days and wonder if I did enough for my family or taught them enough about the love of God.

Meditating upon death actually changes the direction of your day. What are you living for and does it really matter? Is it worth all of your energy, stress, or even laziness? You could go out today and accomplish all the success in the world, but if it doesn’t bring you one step closer to Heaven then was it really worth it? It shows you the things you’re giving your attention to and the places you are holding back from giving your all. Meditating on death opens your eyes to the light of change and redirection.

Too often we miss the details. The tiny choices we make that lead to sanctification or damnation. The small acts of charity that transform our hearts or the missed opportunities that harden them. The failures that we let keep us down when we should’ve gathered the strength to rise up.

Death is terrifying even to most believers who place their hope in Christ. It’s unknown to us, it’s new territory. People ignore thinking about it as a coping mechanism. As a means to avoid it until it happens. I’m one of those people. But not today. Today, my morning reading asked me to meditate on death and so I did. It wasn’t easy or fun but it actually showed me the importance I’m giving to unimportant things. It showed me the grudges I’m holding against loved ones and the love that I’m holding back instead of giving away. 

In many places of my life I find that I’m in self-protection mode. Out of fear I don’t want to fully love or out of comfort I don’t want to fully give. But I know when my final day comes those are the things I’d wish I had done. Because ultimately, on our paths to Heaven, those are the things that are meaningful and even everlasting.

Take a moment today. Ponder your death and let it show you the areas of your life that need improving. Don’t let it discourage you or cause despair but let it guide you with a sense of urgency to live today in the fullness of love. Let it lead to a changed heart and a changed mind. If you are living everyday for Heaven then I truly believe you will catch a glimpse of it here on Earth.

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