When St. Augustine was a young man, he had a wayward prayer: “Lord, make me chaste (sexually pure) – but not yet.” Luckily for him, he turned away from his sinful ways at the right time and eventually became a saint.
However, many are not as lucky. Their lives end when they do not expect it: heart attacks, fatal accidents, drowning, fires, attacks from evil persons. Our own life is not within our control.
Death is the end of everyone and the life of man quickly passes away like a shadow. "In a moment they die, and at midnight people are shaken and pass away, And the mighty are taken away without a hand." Job 34:20
Time waits for no man.
The Stoics say that our every thought therefore should be that of a dying man. "A dying man doesn’t have twenty four hours to be angry. A person who realizes how fragile life is doesn’t take chances in saying things they’ll have to apologize for—because they know they might not get to."
In the Imitation of Christ, Thomas a'Kempis says:
"If you have ever seen a man die, remember that you, too, must go the same way. In the morning consider that you may not live till evening, and when evening comes do not dare to promise yourself the dawn. Be always ready, therefore, and so live that death will never take you unprepared. Many die suddenly and unexpectedly, for in the unexpected hour the Son of God will come. When that last moment arrives you will begin to have a quite different opinion of the life that is now entirely past and you will regret very much that you were so careless and remiss."
Again, the Stoics say: "There are many reasons to be a good person, but perhaps the best one might be the fact that this could be your very last opportunity. Do the nice thing now—not later. Don’t hang onto anger you know you’re going to let go of later—let go of it right this second. Don’t contribute to some tit-for-tat argument that you know you’ll both acknowledge was a mistake at the end—stop it now."
We should not think we have unlimited time.
Therefore, carpe diem -- seize the day. It makes sense . . . perfect sense.#