If you died tomorrow, where would you go?

pearls

Life is a funny thing.

That we can inhale and exhale, consume food and drink, create things with our hands, think things with our brains, witness beauty with our eyes, take in the scents of our surroundings, or choose to walk left or walk right is a funny reality, is indeed very strange.

Of course, it’s entirely normal as we experience it. But at the same time, all of those things which are so easily taken for granted are really quite peculiar. Our lives are constantly in motion. From the moment of our conception, at least some part of our being remains constantly–voluntarily or involuntarily–moving.

What’s more, our lives are in a constant state of alteration. Though much of it is gradual, like learning to walk or spending years in school, significant portions of our lives will undergo sudden–even violent–change, even (at times) to the point of death.

An example: The family in which I’ve grown up in has been blessed with mostly good health. Two of my four grandparents are still living, with the two deceased having gone gradually, a result of slowly depreciating health. But in mid-July 2012, I had cracked a beer and was headed out to enjoy the evening sun on my parents’ patio when the phone rang. On the other end was news that my mom’s aunt, on her drive to see a play and visit us, had been in a car accident and died.

It was a jarring time, to say the least, but as some years have passed it’s caused me to stop and ponder every now and again the life we’ve been given; more importantly how quickly it can end and what that means for how we ought to spend the time in between.

I’ve always liked the Garth Brooks song “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” mainly because Garth is the man. But also because the first half of the chorus provides a striking parallel to the spiritual life and addresses this very question rather poignantly:

If tomorrow never comes
Will she know how much I loved her?
Did I try in every way to show her every day
That she’s my only one?

Replacing the woman in this scenario with God, it’s a sobering thought for anyone, and is especially so for us Christians. While salvation is a free gift from God (yes, Catholics believe this too), it’s the work that we do — the attitude of our interior life, how we act toward others — that puts us in a state to allow us to decide whether we desire heaven – eternity with God – or desire (according to our actions) hell – eternity without God.

Questions like, “Do my choices matter?” or “What choices do matter?” or “Is there something waiting for us after we die?” are asked by children, or by good buddies around a fire after a few beers too many, but how often is it something that we really think about in a sober and mature state?

Ask yourself: When was the last time you sat for even 5 minutes and thought about nothing but what would happen to you if you died tomorrow?

If it hasn’t been recently, it’s probably worth it to do that now.

*****
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12 thoughts on “If you died tomorrow, where would you go?

  1. We are like a vapor in the Wind here today gone tomorrow. We should all be prepared for the time when we stand before our Lord on Judgement Day. I am a born again Christian so I have no fear of that day. Although I am not a Catholic and we all have different doctrines but the one thing that is the same as we believe in Jesus Christ.

    1. JMJ Sorry, Demetrius Gentry but if your not Catholic than you don’t believe and Adore Jesus Christ. Martin Luther believed in himself (as You do) and all the others who started their Own churches, their’s Only One True church, Not yours nor any of the other so called churches! Respectfuklly with Love, Joseph J. Pippet, North Cape May, N.J.

      1. Hi Joseph and Demetrius – thanks for reading, and for your comments! Joseph, I would gently suggest using caution when judging and making a statement about another’s faith. A couple lines came to mind for me after reading your comment:
        In Chris Stefanick’s book, Absolute Relatavism, he notes that while Catholicism may possess the fullness — 100% — of the Truth, it doesn’t mean other faiths possess 0% of it. There are elements of truth in all beliefs — this isn’t, of course, to equate all beliefs, only to make known that ALL goodness, truth, and beauty is from God, and it doesn’t always come in a Catholic shell.
        Secondly, the verse in Scripture, straight from the mouth of Our Lord, that “whoever is not against us is for us.” It’s important to remember when conversing with our non-Catholic brethren that it’s possible to know Jesus Christ, if only partially or imperfectly, and to not be Catholic. Again, this isn’t to equate all beliefs.

        I hope this clarifies, and thanks again!

      2. Romans 14:10 12
        But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you set at nought your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ. For it is written as I live saith the Lord every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

        Is any believer qualified to judge another believer? Your brother is another reason for not judging. It is inconsistent With the recognition of the Brotherhood of believers. There is only one reason for refusing Fellowship and that reason is unconfessed unrepentant habitual sin in a person’s life. We will be judge there not for our sins those having been handled at the cross but as it regards our stewardship and our motives etc. Gain or loss of reward
        Will be the result

  2. I expect to receive the same thrashing I received from Sr. Theodocia while in the sixth grade. Or , maybe both, the backside swipes with a loose board of the desk on the butt by the Irish Christian brother, in sophomore hi school.

    I will respond, “Why me Oh Lord? And I’ll hear this thundering voice————”Henchy, you piss me off.”

  3. Matthew:

    With due respect, Joseph is correct. It is a defined dogma of the Catholic Church that “extra ecclesiam nulla salus” meaning “outside the Church there is no salvation”. As Christ started one Church that means the Catholic Church. Of course we should be charitable in correcting and calling others to Christ’s Church. However, we are not charitable if we leave people in their errors and put their salvation in jeopardy. The emphasis on false ecumenism has confused many on this issue.
    Salvation is only through the Catholic Church. The Church allows that God, in His mercy, may deem a person not in the Catholic Church who is trying to follow Him to be in invincible ignorance and possibly can be saved. That assumes invincible ignorance and is considered a possibility not a certainty.

    1. John – Thanks for your comment! I fully agree with you – there is no salvation outside the Church, as there is only one God and one Savior, Jesus Christ. But the Catholic Church is the *normative* means, and we have to be very careful to keep in mind that though we are bound by the sacraments, God Himself is not.

      Though Joseph was correct that there is no salvation outside the Church, he can have no way of knowing whether or not Demetrius knows Jesus Christ or not, and therefore was too hasty in his assertion, in my opinion. There have been a great many non-Catholics who have proven better “Catholics” in their devotion to Our Lord, and a great many Catholics who were better off with a millstone around their necks.

      It’s always a better idea to proceed with caution, with the objective realities in mind, but without forgetting that we’re talking to a real person, with a real story that’s likely vastly different than our own. It doesn’t mean we disregard the objective realities, but rather that we exercise prudence in how we wield those realities.

      1. JMJ Mr. Sewell, I made a Judgement because of what Mr. Demetrius wrote in this comment section!I was Not hasty in writing, I read his comment a couple of times and thought about his writing (His words) He made no claims about his beliefs in Jesus. By the way born again Christian (?) is a Baptize Catholic! Not Protestant. I do Not judge what’s in a man’s Heart, only by what he says, lives, writes etc… You and every man women and child make Judgements Every day of our life, Including you. People tell me they believe in God (Jesus) but their religion(Protestants)most, is Against what he Teaches. People call themselves Christians scare (especially those who have no fear of Judgement) me. I understand they don’t have the Fullness of Jesus’ teachings, Because they don’t seek it, Pray for it. Less Dialouge more Prayer and Jesus will help them to enter in His Church (Not yours, mine, ours, etc. Not the Pope’s, Priests, Bishops, God’s Church) Respectfully (spelled right this time) with Love, Joseph J. Pippet, North Cape May, N.J.

  4. Demetrius, I re-read your first comment and there is nothing a Catholic can disagree with. Catholics have a moral assurance (not an absolute assurance) of being judged worthy of heaven and do not in live in fear of eternal damnation. There is a saying that many outsiders are insiders and many insiders are outsiders. You did not deserve the slap down you were given. It made the Catholic look very small.

    1. Thank you Morriec.
      I appreciate your response. you sound like a very good person. and I did not hold his comments against all Catholics. as a matter of fact I just said a prayer for him. God bless you

  5. Thanks for that Matthew. I do reflect on that big question more than I imagine really. It compels me to dive deeper into my Faith. I see it all as a battle — so I love how our Faith calls us the Church Militant. God bless & keep up the great work. Pax et Bonem. A.M.D.G!

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