When St. John Bosco founded the Salesian order, he recommended a practice called “Exercise for a Happy Death.”
One day each month, they were to treat the day as it was their last – saying their prayers, making a good confession, and celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass all like it was the last time they would do it.
The purpose of the exercise is to help us to remember our death – “memento mori” – and to detach ourselves from the things of this world, shifting our gaze to the next.
The exercise helps us to keep perspective. Death comes for us all. Very few are “ready.”
But, by living our days, months, and years ordered toward God, relentlessly pursuing Him, death becomes the final checkpoint on our journey. The last thing between us and our goal of Heaven.
God willing, we all have a peaceful death at an old age, and with St. Paul we can say: “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Long for His appearance today and every day.