Tony has practical advice for us all.
Tony has just turned 80 years of age. He often talks about it in this way, “My time on this earth is slowly running out.” When he says things like this, his family and friends cut him short with humorous remarks, such as, “God doesn’t want you yet” or “You look too good and healthy for an eighty-year-old.” And finally, “You’re not going anywhere yet!”
Tony comes back explaining that he isn’t saying this for self-pity or for compliments about how good he looks. He tells them, “I say it because I want to hear myself admitting it. In this way, it reminds me to live what time I do have in the best way possible.” Adding, “Then, I’ll let go more easily when that final moment happens.”
Tony is like many seniors who are not afraid of dying. They want to live, but also don’t mind acknowledging that death is in their future. What Tony desires, as most other seniors, is to embrace both.
Tony is onto something. In life, aren’t we always saying good bye to something? We bid farewell to our hair, our dimming eyesight, our youthful energy, our ability to jog, and even to our hearing! These good byes come from our compassionate God who is only letting life give us helpful hints to helps us let go.
Whether we like it or not, these reminders tell us life on this earth is not permanent. God made us for Himself and when our time here is finished, He welcomes us home with Him. Our death is not a punishment, but rather our reward for resembling Jesus’ to our brothers or sisters. But until that day comes, God encourages us to live life to the fullest.
St. Francis de Sales gives these comforting words to anyone one who faces this moment with loneliness and fear: “It is a great consolation to know that the relationships we begin on this earth we’ll continue in heaven.”
Tony is right in preparing. He understands that living on earth means we are always approaching eternity. This is why it is good practice every once in a while to remind ourselves to live this present moment in the best way we can. St. Francis de Sales not only taught this lesson, he lived it.
When St Francis de Sales was asked, “If you were told your death is imminent, what will you do?" He responded, “Exactly what I am doing right now.” In other words, stay focused on the present moment.
Tony is teaching us all a good lesson. There is no better way to live or to die than to be doing well what we’re doing in this present moment! This delights the God who made us and loves us no matter where we may be.
The present is the friend of age, not its enemy. It inundates us with life. It soaks us in the brine of it. It gives us the space and time to realize that without the past, we could not possibly live this present so well. -Sr. Joan Chittister, O.S.B.
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Blessings, Fr. DeLillio