Has it really been over a month since I last posted?!?! Sigh....
Losing a parent at a very young age, as I did, has curious consequences throughout the course of one's life. F'rinstance, today, the Sunday of the Last Judgement. If you read all the liturgical texts, Vespers and Matins as well as Liturgy, the predominant word is "fear" (well, "fear and trembling"), and rightly so, when one considers that this is It -- there are no more chances to make good whatever we so skillfully screw up. You're either a sheep or a goat, and no in between.
This awareness does absolutely nothing to me.
Back in the Stone Ages, when I attended school, the nuns of St. Margaret's were constantly harping on this theme of Living Each Day as Though It Were Your Last. Maybe it scared the living daylights out of every other kid in the class, I don't know. What I felt, in a seven-year-old, 1952 kind of way, was, "Well, that's a no-brainer." I had that down cold by the time I was three years old, having lost my father at age two. Of course every day could be your last day. How could you ever be sure of anything? How brain-dead did you have to be, not to get that notion squared away?
Then there is the awareness of being condemned to hell for eternity. Well, yes, this is not something I would want to happen, but it still doesn't terrify me as it probably should. God is God, He can do whatever He wants. If despite all my good efforts He still decides that my sins cancel out everything I've tried to please Him, what're you gonna do? So there's no point worrying about that.
However...it grieves me, in this present life, that despite my best intentions, I still sin. I still drop the ball. I still choose other things over God. Terror over not spending eternity in heaven, or even with God, doesn't bother me; grief does. I would like to spend just one day of my life, before I die, not grieving God, and the knowledge that this is probably not ever gonna happen really pains me. I will still keep trying, of course. I will still keep worshipping God, since even the worst sinner still has that obligation, so being the chief of sinners doesn't let me off that hook. Nor would I want it to; that's not a hook I intend ever to let go. I will still make the very best effort I can to live a Christ-like life, because that's what I'm all about; and if, at the end, it wasn't enough, then so be it.
At least when I die, I will lose the ability to sin. And that's a relief.