“Be ready then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.” (Matt 25:12-13)
We all have stories of “sudden deaths” in our families.
In 1909, my great-grandmother – the mother of eleven children – collapsed and died in the middle of the street while on her way to pay the rent. Her two youngest daughters (twins) were 18 months old. My grandmother was one of those twins.
My husband’s uncle was tragically killed in a bakery accident when he was only 15. My mother-in-law was only 13 at the time her brother died, and he was her closest sibling.
My own father died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 49.
From those killed on the Titanic in 1912 to those who died in the World Trade Center during 9/11, none of us knows the exact hour and day that we will enter eternal life. For many of us, it will be sudden and without warning. It doesn’t matter how old we are. All of us need to be ready and spiritually prepared when our time comes.
It doesn’t matter whether we are teens, young mothers, middle-aged or elderly, the following points can help us to “be ready.”
- State of Grace
Attend Mass at least weekly, more if possible. The graces from receiving the Eucharist are abundant and help us to be the best we can be. Go to Confession frequently, even if there are only venial sins on your soul. Confession has so many beautiful benefits and graces.
- Prayer Life/Adoration
Spend time in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Make sure you have a prayer life: Morning offering, Daily Rosary, Liturgy of the Hours, Divine Mercy Chaplet. If you don’t have a lot of time for prayer, get a Rosary CD or a Divine Mercy CD for your car that you can recite on your way to work or coming home from work. If you’re a young mother, pray with an audio CD of the Rosary or say a decade while you’re doing the dishes or changing a diaper. Take your children to Adoration, even if it’s only for ten minutes.
- Forgive and Ask for Forgiveness
It sounds easy, but it’s not. However, if we want God to forgive our sins, we must forgive those who have sinned against us. And ask forgiveness from those people you have offended or hurt. No one is perfect and we all need to ask forgiveness.
- Fast All Year Round
Fasting is not just for Lent. When we add fasting (having lighter meals and abstaining from meat) to prayer on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year, there are many benefits. Fasting invites the Holy Spirit into our hearts, helps us to increase in virtue, and adds weight to our prayer intentions. When we fast for others, we are truly the Good Samaritan. If you can’t fast from food, then fast from social media, treats or the internet. Any fasting is positive!
- Pray to Your Guardian Angel
Be open to your guardian angel’s promptings. Our Guardian Angel has been placed in charge of protecting us and leading us to heaven.
“Not my will, but yours be done.” Surrendering to God’s will is not easy in this day and age. Our pride often gets in the way because we think we know best.
- Give of Yourself to Others
I have a plaque over my desk that reads “I Am Third.” God should always be first in our lives, others (i.e. our family) second and “I am third.” Visit the sick and shut in, help others in need.
- Share Your Love With Your Family
Don’t wait for tomorrow to tell and show those you love. And remember that love isn’t just a “feeling.” It’s a choice to will the good of the other. It’s a decision to love even when a person is not lovable.
If we are always ready and if we stay close to God, we will be prepared for eternal life and for the day when we reach the gates of heaven and hear the words of God: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master.” (Matt 25-23)
Copyright 2017 Ellen Gable Hrkach