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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Thoughts about Life and Death

The Hourglass of Life

At birth, time is eternity. We have, it seems all the time in the world. At first that is fine, but as we grow up we get restless with life and want to be more occupied; more entertained. We go from children playing outside where there is no end to the fun, to children who want more than whatever their limited universe can grant them. Time is still massive, infinite, but is not filled up with things to do. This briefly describes the first half of the hourglass of life.

We are bored.

As we grow up, our responsibilities grow with us, until there are too many things for us to do in the alloted time - we literally do not have enough time in a day to do what has to be done.

I recall telling someone that if only I could survive without sleep....

This is the most intense part of our lives, where we find ourselves having to prioritize our time, and some things are pushed aside. For however many years this continues, we are constantly putting people, things, work etc., in some order that allows us to take care of the things we hold dearest. This is the narrow part of the hourglass. We are not bored; we yearn for boredom.

At some point, the pressure lets up. Either we grow up and realize that certain things are just not worth it, or that other things we have neglected are more important than, say, a nice car. Or we find ourselves superseded by the younger people at work; young guns with more energy and motivation than we have. They remind us of ourselves. Suddenly things we still want to do are taken away from us.

The narrowing is now widening.

As time marches on, the hourglass continues to widen, and if we live to be a ripe old age, even more things, such as our leisure time, become harder to complete. Soon time has expanded to eternity again, and we have all the time in the world to just sit and 'be.'

At some point we die, and experience the real eternity - hopefully in Heaven.

I write this as I remember an elderly woman - her name is Mary - who recently died. She was a widow, and we only saw her at church. Whenever we were there, she was there as well. She drove herself to Mass, and made time for Holy Hours every week.

It appears that she got it right, in the sense that her final days were devoted to prayer, the Sacraments, and the Eucharist. That expansive period of time before death is a great opportunity for all of us to spend time in prayer and works of mercy. For some of us, that time before death is a long way away, but for others, it is closer than we think.

What an upbeat meditation!

But it is a good thing to meditate on our final day or days on earth. It is also good to smile, and meditate on good Italian food:


Mac McLernon said...

Oh hell... I'd only just succeeded in getting that ditty out of my brain....

...you have much to answer for.

Anonymous said...

Since my husband & i gave up materialism over 20 years ago & focused on our family life's been like a permanent vacation! Praise God, we have time to sit,pray, meditate. We see families with one ot two children running round without a minute..strange that!

dadwithnoisykids said...


I don't make you hit the 'play' button.

You are right that I have a lot to answer for.

Roman Sacristan said...

But it's such a temptation to press the square with the triangle in it.

MrsDianna said...

Regarding Mary, I have to say that as long as my husband and I have known her, she has always had "it" right!
Mary was my husband's CCD teacher for a few grades at St. Williams and most of all she was our dear friend. She was full of wisdom and shared it with such love. I will treasure all the time I spent sitting in her living room, listening to her talk about the many miracles God gave.
Mary will be greatly missed!
Dianna M.

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
Now restored with the help of some cement!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Mary my mother, take my hand today, and all days.
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."

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