One of my favorite prayers is the Prayer to St. Joseph linked in the blog pages. In that prayer are the words:
“obtain for me the grace . . . to work, above all, with purity of intention and unselfishness, having unceasingly before my eyes death and the account I shall have to render of time lost, talents unused, good not done, and vail complacency in success, so baneful to the work of God.”
Imagine if we used our time with these thoughts in mind, with our eyes fixed on the account we will have to render to our Lord and how we will have to explain idleness and sloth.
John Henry Newman quotes Ecclesiastes in his homily, “The Lapse of Time,” thus:
“Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, wither thou goest.” Ecc. 9:10
Newman goes on to say that the greatest work we have to do, the work “which will outlive all other works, and for which alone we really are placed here below [is] the salvation of our souls.” Rather than paying lip service to this truth, Newman exhorts his listeners to “think[ ] over it steadily and seriously, [so that] we may possibly, through God’s grace, gain some deep conviction of it.” Without keeping death and our eternal end in mind, we more easily allow for idle pursuits to consume us and waste our time.
“Memento mori” says the monk, “Remember death.” Let us always keep in mind our eternal goal and work unceasingly toward it.