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Saturday, 28 March 2015

Matthew 25:23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master

It is good, sometimes, to ponder the ages of the great saints at the time of their deaths. God is in charge of life and death, but one wonders why some saints are like meteors, blazing across the sky for a moment in time, while others are like lodestars in the firmament, steady, present for a long, long time.

Some people never think if death or the four last things, then, suddenly, death comes upon them. In the past few weeks, I have had discussions with three men who believe that many people are facing eternal death, that is, hell, and are blithely not realizing that their time could be short. 

In a conversation, one of the gentlemen noted that more and more he is noticing how many people are living their lives as if God did not exist. A second gentleman noted that people do not understand how serious sin actually is. The third expressed the view that, to be honest, most people he knew never thought about heaven or hell.

We are all given an allotted time on this earth to live out our salvation.

Some great saints lived to be very old indeed. One thinks of the saints of the Old Testament, who lived considerably longer than a hundred and in some cases almost into a second century. The closer one lived to the First Parents, the longer one lived. Abraham died at 175 years of age. SS. Alphonsus (90), Augustine (76), Robert Bellarmine (78), Hildegard of Bingen (81), Maximus the Confessor, (82), and John Paul II (84), are some of the many older saints who graced this earth for a long time, relatively. These are the lodestars.

We are aware of many saints who died in their adolescent years, and some in their early twenties, like St. Therese, the Little Flower, Elizabeth of Hungary, and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (all 24). These are the meteors.

Or, one thinks of the saints who died in their thirties, such as SS. Catherine of Siena (33), Anthony of Padua (35), and Faustina Kowalska, (33), called to God early, yet making a huge imprint on the daily life of Catholics.

Then we have the middle-aged saints, like SS. John of the Cross, (49), Thomas Aquinas (49), Francis of Assisi, (44) and Bonaventure (53).

Some saints lived into late middle-age, early old, as we say today, like SS. Angela Merici (66), Teresa of Avila, (67) and Bernard of Clairvaux (63). 

All of these excellent people answered a call by God to do something and to be something in the City of God. Each one had a task and a character to mark the history of the Church with a special charism.

No two saints are alike. All are unique individuals who did not procrastinate or put-off holiness. They, like the faithful servant in the parable, cared about little things and, therefore, were trusted with big things.

Our lives may be short, or long. We do not know the day of our death, except for the chosen few to whom God gives this particular grace. Each Catholic should live each day as if it is his last, be he 24, 33, 67, or 90. 

Presumption is the sin which puts off purgation and perfection. 

Do not wait for age to become may not have another day.