“I earnestly admonish you, therefore, my brothers,
to look after your spiritual well-being
with judicious concern.
Death is certain; life is short and vanishes like smoke.
Fix your minds, then, on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Inflamed with love for us, he came down from heaven to redeem us.
For our sake he endured every torment of body and soul and shrank from no bodily pain.
He himself gave us an example of perfect patience and love.
We, then, are to be patient in adversity.”
St. Francis of Paola
Death and taxes…
nothing is certain in life but those two unpleasantries.
April 15th—the dreaded day of taxes.
(or actually the 17th due to the 15th falling on a weekend)
A day that accountants have longed for while regular citizens have dreaded.
To pay or to be refunded, that is the question…
Yet taxes are nothing new.
We might recall that it was while traveling to Bethlehem, Joseph’s ancestral home,
Mary gave birth to Jesus.
It was a requirement of Roman law that all citizens take part in the counting for the census
in order to meet the tax requirements…
thus the reason why this young couple, with a very pregnant Mary,
was out and about traveling at a rather critical time.
And so history teaches us that taxes are nothing new…
nor is death…
for death is as old as life itself…
As they actually go hand in hand…
Death and taxes—the two givens in life.
St Francis of Paola—
the humble 15th-century monk who founded the equally humble order
of Minim Friars, reminds us, in this morning’s quote, that death is indeed certain.
Yet the notion of death being inevitable… is really nothing more than a given.
If you’ve been born, you will inevitably die.
That’s just how that works.
Yet most of us don’t like being reminded of such.
Just like we don’t like being reminded about taxes,
forms, payments and the deadline for submitting such.
Our humble monk also reminds us of something else equally as important…
that life, as fleeting as it is…. is simply like vanishing smoke.
And just like taxes and death, none of us like to think about fleeting…
those unpleasant things such as taxes, death coupled with our fleeting lives.
However, our friend reassures us that because our time is just that, vanishing as the smoke…
and death is, for better or worse, inevitable…
it is to be our task to fix our sights, our minds and even
our passions upon Jesus and on Jesus alone…
because it is only in Jesus that things such as death and taxes,
and that of pain, sorrow, and suffering…
those earthly fleeting instances which will vanish as the smoke,
are nothing compared to a life with Jesus—of which is truly everlasting…
They seldom reflect on the days of their life,
because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.