Persevere through the following three meditations if you feel called to do so. They may present difficult content, but understanding the content deeply will provide an essential foundation for later reflections on forgiveness, mercy and union with God. Skipping these foundational meditations is like building a house without a foundation. Eventually, the house will crumble. So it is with the spiritual life. Without a deep knowledge of your sin, death, judgment and the possibility of Hell, you cannot move forward to redemption and new life.
Few people regularly ponder the reality that they will one day die. But the older you become, the easier it is to do so. Take a moment to think about that humbling truth. (Silent Reflection)
When you compare the length of this life to eternity, it’s like comparing one atom to the entire created Universe. Yet so often you may actually live as if this life (this “atom”) is all you have, when instead you have been bestowed by God a whole eternity upon you. You may fail to understand that this life is nothing other than a preparation for eternity. It is immeasurably short in comparison to the eternal life that awaits. How well are you preparing?
Your eternity will be lived in either Heaven or Hell. Either is a real possibility depending upon what you believe and the choices you make. But before looking at eternity, look at the gateway to eternity: Death. On which day will you die? Will it be soon? Will it be many years from now? Few people ponder death because, for most, death is a long way away. But not knowing when you will die is a poor excuse for not pondering it with a hopeful anticipation. It may be soon, it may be later, but the day will come for us all. Pause again to think about the day of your death. Try to imagine what it will be like. (Silent Reflection)
When you die, your eternal destiny will be set. Imagine yourself on your deathbed looking back over your life and facing your pending entrance into eternity. At that moment, will you have regrets? If so, what will they be? Or will you be at peace, filled with gratitude for the many choices you made and the grace you received? (Silent Reflection)
When you die, will you wish you made more money, were more popular, achieved greater recognition, had more education, etc.? Hopefully not. (Silent Reflection)
When you die, will you regret not loving more? Not spending more time with family? Not forgiving? Living a self-indulgent life? Holding a grudge, being cruel, dishonest, etc.? (Silent Reflection)
When you die, will you be filled with gratitude that you lived this life preparing for eternity? That you sought virtue with all your heart? That you prayed fervently, daily, and throughout your life? That you sought to daily forgive, reconcile, show compassion and mercy, treat others with the greatest kindness and respect, sought the will of God with all your might, etc.? Hopefully all of the above.
Death changes everything. It is the gateway to eternity. But your eternity is prepared for now. Resolve to live for that moment of your death and prepare for it with all your heart so that as you stand at death’s doorway, you will stand with great confidence, hope and anticipation of the great things that await. Make your personal resolution now. (Silent Reflection)
Introduction to Foundational Meditations
- God, the Creator of All That Is
- God, the Intimate Guide for Your Life
- God, the Goal, Purpose and End of Your Life
- Sin of the Angels
- Sin of Adam and Eve
- The General Effects of Sin
- Introduction to Meditations Seven–Nine
- Personal Sin: In the Light of the Divine Sun
- Personal Sins of My Life
- Humiliation and Humility
Featured Image: Death of St. Joseph by Simone Barabino