1. “Life is passing.” The days chase one another; time is flying. Childhood has become a distant memory. Perhaps youth and manhood have also passed and gone and we find ourselves on the threshold of old age. All those days, months and years that have passed were gifts of God. He gave them to us for our benefit and sanctification. But what use have we made of them? Have we laid up treasure for eternal life? And if we have not done so up to now, for what are we waiting? Let us remember the old saying that we should never put off till tomorrow what we can do today. Today there is still time to turn from sin, regain sanctifying grace, and lead a life of Christian perfection. But tomorrow? What do we know about tomorrow? Tomorrow is in the hands of the Lord and we do not know if the Lord will grant us further time to make amends.
Do not say, therefore, that you will change tomorrow, that tomorrow you will turn away from the path of sin and begin to lead a holy life. For not alone does time pass, but it often betrays us. Our Lord tells us that the judgement will come at a time when we least expect it. The time that is gone will never return; the future is uncertain; there remains only the present. But the present is equally uncertain; it is something that passes, and every moment could be the last of our lives. How many whom we have known were taken away suddenly in the flower of their youth… Is that not a warning to us?
Let us do good while we have time; let us gain merit now for eternal life.
2. “Death is approaching.” How many years have we left? How many months? How many hours? We do not know. Perhaps this could be the last day or the last hour of our lives, and if that were true, in what state would we appear before the majesty of God? How terrible if we were in mortal sin; we would be damned for all eternity!
But even if we find ourselves in the state of grace, what merits have we to present to the eternal Judge? What sacrifices have we made to prove our love for Him? What mortifications and penances have we voluntarily undertaken to purify ourselves of our sins? What good works have we done, what alms have we given, what prayers have we said? We may have to admit that we have wasted most of the time which God has given us in useless or even sinful occupations. Let us treasure at least the years, days, or hours which God still wills to grant us for our full conversion and for our spiritual perfection.
3. “Eternity lies ahead.” Where the tree falls, there it will remain. So it will be with us. If we have to our credit works of virtue and of apostolic labour, death will be for us, as it was for St. Francis of Assisi, the good sister who will release us from the bonds which tie us to this earth so that the soul can soar to its longed-for haven of everlasting joy in the company of God. But if we are so unfortunate at this last moment as to find ourselves in mortal sin, we shall be deprived forever of the sight of God and, as a result, of every happiness. We shall be hurled into the eternal abyss where there is no light nor hope and where torments will have no end.
While there is still time, let us meditate on these truths.