A Doctor Told You That You’re Dying What Plans Do You Make?

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

If a Doctor told you that you were dying, and unfortunately we don’t know when this will be, what would you do? It could be tomorrow, in 14 days time or in 20 years. How would you react? You’d probably make plans to draw up a will. If you’re wealthy, you may want to decide which child gets this or that. The most crippling part would be the anxiety of not knowing when you could suddenly drop dead. Tears would be shed, and many prayers raised to the heavens. The reason for the tears, and the sadness, is because you know you’re not ready yet.

Such a scenario also reminds me of those in prison on death row in America. At any time, they will be given 24 hours notice of their death. They live with the uncertainty of dying each day. It could be in 20 years time or in 1 years time, they’re not given a date or time. Most people in either scenario would make some sort of peace with God. In fact, the uncertainty would almost drive a person to make peace with God rather quickly…if they were smart.

Today in our world, we all live with this uncertainty, and yet none of us are aware of it. From the moment we are born, the process of dying has begun. All of us, right now. . . are dying. There is always an uncertainty of when this death will be.

We live each day as if we would live forever, not thinking about the car accident in 10 minutes time as we wave our loved ones goodbye. We enjoy our unholy friendships and drunken orgies, without thinking of being stabbed to death and mugged while walking home.

When we hear this knowledge from a Doctor about our uncertainty we are suddenly listening, and very attentive to the authoritative voice of a professional. But when a preacher or priest warns us of such uncertainty, we never listen. The same fear that drives us to make plans for our uncertain death from a Doctor never seems to phase us when it comes to our eternal souls. We go through life, not realizing that death is always uncertain, so why is it feel more final when coming from a health professional?

Of course, anxiety is good for nobody, and the saints of the Church embraced death readily. However, it was this uncertainty also that drove the saints to watch attentively over the state of their souls and relationship to God, the ultimate health physician of our eternal souls. They lived each day as though it were their last one earth. St.Augustine, a great early Church Father said, “Look after your bodies as though you would live forever, and your souls as if you would die tomorrow.”

The Gospel is full of examples where God demonstrates the uncertainty of our deaths. Two things are surely certain in this world: That we are already dying, and the uncertainty of this death that looms over each and every one of us. For the righteous, a moment longed for, but for the unrighteous, a moment we dread, because our consciences tear us apart for we are horrible sinners.

Look at the empty streets around the world because of the Virus. Look how utterly scared we are of this death. The uncertainty of catching the virus and being numbered among the dead consumes us. But we don’t care about our eternal souls. Sadly, the media and health professionals are the preachers we listen to, but not the preachers of the soul. We are attentive to the certainty of our physical deaths, but not to the death of our eternal soul.

“Ignorance is bliss”
, is the popular saying, but nothing could be further from the truth.



Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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