LENTEN DEVOTION for Saturday, March 24



Grant me the grace, O God, to live today as if it is my last.



John the Solitary said, "This is how your life will be preserved in good works: by constantly having before your eyes the picture of your death; for when someone does not live in expectation of the next day, then fear induced by having just the present day acts as their guide. For what sins or laxity will a person let themselves get involved in, when they consider that their life will last but a single day, and they do not rely on the morrow."

The Psalmist said, "So teach us to count our days   that we may gain a wise heart." (Psalm 90:12)

The wise said, "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring." (Proverbs 27:1) 


It may seem morbid to think about your mortality in the morning. But John the Solitary knows that this is one effective way to make the day count. As soon as the alarm clock sounds, the day's worries come flooding in. Some of these stresses are significant, but many of them are not. It is easy to fill the day with tasks and projects. Some of these things are of utmost importance, many of them are not. Unclaimed moments and downtime is spent in front of the TV or attached to the phone. And soon, the day is over and the mind is left wondering what could have or should have been done with the day. That is why John the Solitary advises us to live the day as if it is our last.

Pop culture films and books often run with this idea: "What would you do if you knew the day of your death?" People rush through the bucket-list, doing fun, adventurous and far-off things. But this is not what is meant by John the Solitary, or the biblical authors. Counting our hours and days or keeping our death in view, clarifies and focuses us on what is really important. This practice makes us intentional. We will be less likely to fill our days with distractions and procrastinate fulfilling our deepest desires or callings. We will be more likely to let petty feuds dissolve. We will be less likely to pack the day with simple satisfactions. We will be more likely to attend to the needs of others. We will be less likely to let time slip by. And we will be more likely to be purposeful with every minute.

This is not to say that we should shun all entertainment and empty moment. Rest and relaxation can serve intentionality. But to be aware of our mortality, means aligning all your time with what is most important. And if you're having trouble figuring out what is most important, Jesus boils it down for us: love God, love neighbor.


 God of time and eternity, help me to live fully this day. Amen.   

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