Something to truly ponder this Advent and in these times, especially since it seems to be such a cliche most of the time.
If we assisted at/celebrated each Mass like it was our last, how much piety would we have? How much attention would we pay to beautiful Missal and its rubrics the Church has given us? How deep in prayer would we be? How thoroughly would we examine our consciences when the priest says “let us acknowledge our sins”? How ardently would we adore the One we receive?
If we made each decision like it was our last, how sincerely would we pray for wisdom? How open would we be to what the Holy Spirit is really telling us rather than what we want Him to tell us? How much would we care about being popular or politically correct or living in financial and social prosperity? Would we truly vote based on our Faith rather than on our personal preferences, family opinion, economy, or issues less important than the ones that directly affect the morality of our nation? Would we continue to put our own will above that of God spoken through the Church Magisterium while rationalizing our choices to ourselves? How quickly would we race to Confession after messing up? How hard would we try to avoid the near occasion of sin? How hard would we try to resist temptation and put our love for God above our silly and selfish wants? How often and how sincerely would we take a moment to pray to the one who loved us enough to die the most brutal death in history for us? How well would we watch our language and keep the Lord’s name holy? How hard would we try to make it to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation if at all possible? How often would we Confess? Would we take a little time now and then to read that all too dusty Bible of ours? How often would we spend at least a few seconds in Eucharistic Adoration? How dedicated would we be to the apostolates we’ve committed to? How much time would we put into serving the parish that does so much for us? How faithful would we be to the vocation we feel called to/have been called to? How much of an effort would we make to evangelize with your words and not just your example when you have the opportunity (since it could be their last day as well)? How well would we endure the sufferings sent our way that are so small compared to Our Lord’s Passion? How hard would we try to offer up our crosses without turning them into pity parties and dragging others into them? How much effort would we put into making sacrifices and acts of penance, however small?
If we treated each person and family member like he/she was the last one we’d encounter, how sincerely would we ask “How are you?” and listen to their answer? How honest would we be? How much would we try to see the best in others? How hard would we try to keep our temper and hold back that mean word just itching to spit itself out? How readily would we forgive with or without an apology? How well would we bite our tongues and refrain from gossip? How respectful and obedient would we be to those in authority over us even when they don’t deserve it? How truthful would we be with the cop who rightfully pulls us over when we drive carelessly and how respectfully would we speak of him when he’s out of earshot? How much time would we spend making really good memories with our loved ones? Would we really do to others as we would have them do to us? How faithful would we be to our present or future spouse and how hard would we try to show him/her our love? How hard would we try to reconcile damaged relationships within reason? How often would we offer a bit of food and kindness to the homeless person on the street corner? Would we exchange first names with him/her? How much would we pray for others?
If we spent each dollar like it was the last one we’d get to spend, how many of them would we give to our parish and to charities? How would we invest them in our friends and family’s happiness? How much would we consider whether the things we buy and invest in really matter? Would we discontinue purchases from and other support to the companies who we know will spend our money on destroying the Faith we claim to love above all else?
If we wrote/read each social media post like it was our last, how kind to others would we be whether or not they deserve it? How much attention would we give to the One who created us with so much intelligence and talent? How much care would take to make sure our humor is clean and pure rather than crude and foul? How hard would we try to remember that our phones and computers are tools and not toys and that they like everything else in our lives are meant to be used for God’s glory? How often would we pause our busy-ness to spend time with God and family? How prudent would we be about how much time is spent?
No one can live a perfect day, not even on their last, but we sure can try (relying on God’s grace)! Happy Advent and let us pray for one another that we live this examen as well as possible!