The Thinking 
Housewife
 

Ash Wednesday

February 14, 2018

 

Soap Bubbles, Jean Siméon Chardin; 1733-34

EVERYONE reading this now will be gone in a hundred years. So will their relatives and friends. All will vanish, including the greatest of accomplishments. The only permanent act that you or anyone else performs in this world is prayer, or those things that lead to prayer:

AH, foolish man, why do you plan to live long when you are not sure of living even a day? How many have been deceived and suddenly snatched away! How often have you heard of persons being killed by drownings, by fatal falls from high places, of persons dying at meals, at play, in fires, by the sword, in pestilence, or at the hands of robbers! Death is the end of everyone and the life of man quickly passes away like a shadow.

Who will remember you when you are dead? Who will pray for you? Do now, beloved, what you can, because you do not know when you will die, nor what your fate will be after death. Gather for yourself the riches of immortality while you have time. Think of nothing but your salvation. Care only for the things of God. Make friends for yourself now by honoring the saints of God, by imitating their actions, so that when you depart this life they may receive you into everlasting dwellings.

Keep yourself as a stranger here on earth, a pilgrim whom its affairs do not concern at all. Keep your heart free and raise it up to God, for you have not here a lasting home. To Him direct your daily prayers, your sighs and tears, that your soul may merit after death to pass in happiness to the Lord.

— Thomas à Kempis, Meditation on DeathThe Imitation of Christ

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