What I Wish College Students Knew About Death
Forgive me if this seems like a depressing subject. It's actually the opposite.
I remember when I was in college, a short ten years ago. I was consumed with myself. It's a natural, although selfish, mindset for anyone at that stage in life. What should be my major? What classes should I take? What clubs should I join? What am I going to do after I graduate? What are my responsibilities? Am I fulfilling them? Where will I go? What does the rest of my life look like? Who will I spend it with?
The future is a big question mark that consumed my daily energy and thought. And that's only once I managed to move past the other more pressing questions. Like how do I look? What does everyone else think of me? Is so-and-so really my friend?
It's not that questions like these don't matter for you. But I've learned they don't matter that much. At least not when we put them into the right context...
The context of death. Your death, to be specific.
"No one can confidently say that he will still be living tomorrow." - Euripides
Now, you can choose to be depressed about that. Or, you can let it sweeten every moment of this adventure that you are alive until then.
But the subject of your death is not only a reminder to cherish the time you have here. More importantly, it's a reminder that your time here is finite.
Whether it happens by the end of this sentence or in 100 years, your life here will end. And it will have been short. Just ask anybody who's died. And guess what? All of those questions I mentioned above? The answers to those won't really matter anymore.
And you won't be the one asking yourself questions, either. The One who made you will be. You know, the Guy who has a very important purpose for your life, no matter how small or trivial it may seem to you? The Guy who offers you freedom from all of your useless worries and small stresses for the simple cost of everything? The Guy who demands faithfulness, not success? Yeah. That guy.
The Guy who, when you die, will ask of you things like, "what did you do for the least of mine?" And "how did you spend the time I gave you on Earth?" And "did you live a life of love?"
In other words, did you spend your life for God and others as if each moment were your last? Or did you spend it selfishly, taking your days for granted, assuming you'd have time for that other stuff later?
At any moment now your last moment and this moment will be the same moment. This is a fact of life that nobody escapes. The good news is that in every moment up until then, you are being offered eternity. The deal is — you trade your current, short, often painful, difficult life where you end as dust in exchange for a life of eternal joy. It's a killer deal. But it's a limited time offer.
Oh, and it just so happens that this "deal" is not only the ticket to peace and joy in the next life, it's also the secret to peace and joy in this life. Make the deal. However long God gives you in this first adventure, embrace and be thankful for every bit of it. Live it to the fullest. Don't waste another moment of it doing anything other than something for God.
"To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure." - Albus Dumbledore
Live every moment of this life for God and others and you'll be very well organized for the next great adventure — whenever God decides that it begins.
This post is a apart of the “What I Wish College Students Knew” series. We wanted to get popular Catholic authors and speakers to write about topics that were close to the minds and hearts of college students across the country. To read more posts in this series, click on the links below. Feel free to give your input and join the conversation on these important topics.
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Aug 28, 2014
What I Wish College Students Knew About Death
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Since the pontificates of Pope Paul VI and John Paul II, the Roman Catholic Church has been commissioned to engage and embrace the world with God's message of love once more with ‘new methods, new ardor and new expression.’ It has come to be phrased, 'the new evangelization.'
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