A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Truly Living

Posted on: November 7, 2013

Maybe it was because he worked in search and rescue and had seen some terrible sights, but when I was growing up, my father sometimes made dinner conversation about death—specifically his own, and how he would (and would not) like us to mark his eventual passing.

Some people might find this grim. I think it shows my father’s acceptance of the undeniable fact that we’re mortal—a fact worth considering in a month where we think of the saints who have gone before us.

I recently downloaded the MP3 of “Live Like You Were Dying,” performed by Tim McGraw. The song talks about a man with a life-threatening illness who not only tries things he’d always wanted to but also becomes a better husband and friend. He says, “Someday I hope you get the chance / To live like you were dying.”

Living like that is easier said than done, I know. I regret things I’ve said and done or failed to say or do. Those times I should have extended forgiveness to someone, been kinder or more helpful, or pursued an opportunity but held back because I was afraid to get hurt or be wrong or fail, and times when I stood still rather than really lived.

But I believe that, as Christians, we should live as though our time were short. Because we know that this life will end. We just don’t know how short or long it might be.

We need to make sure our loved ones know they are loved and to share our time, talents and treasure while we have the opportunity to do good rather than make our faith and feelings known by the way we dispose of our assets in a will. We need to discover and live out the vocation we’re called to and fulfill our part of God’s plan, remembering that Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10*).

I pray that we would be inspired by Jesus’ example and that of the faithful people who have gone before us, such as those described in Hebrews 11. And I pray that we would be encouraged by the words of Hebrews 12:1-2:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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