ROME – Spending time reflecting on your own death can be a freeing experience, and one that can even help us to become better people, Pope Francis said in a homily at the Casa Santa Marta Thursday.
Death “is a fact that affects everyone,” the pope said Feb. 1. For some people it may come sooner and for some later, but regardless, “it comes.”
Because we are all men and women on a journey in finite time, he continued, it is a good idea to pray to God asking for a good sense of time, so that we are not “imprisoned” by the present moment. He also recommended repeating to yourself the phrase: “I am not the master of time.”
Remembering that we are all on the path to death “will make us treat everyone well.”
The pope’s homily was inspired by the day’s first reading, which was taken from the first Book of Kings, and is on the death of David.
In the reading, King David knows the hour of his death is approaching and gives instructions to his son, Solomon, to prepare him for taking over the throne.
David first explains to Solomon that he is “going the way of all flesh” and tells him, in the face of this fact, to “take courage and be a man.”
“Keep the mandate of the Lord, your God, following his ways and observing his statutes, commands, ordinances, and decrees as they are written in the law of Moses, that you may succeed in whatever you do, wherever you turn,” David tells Solomon.
Continuing on this theme, Francis said that another question we should ask ourselves is: “What would be my legacy if God were to call me today? What legacy would I leave as a testimony of my life?”
“It is a good question to ask ourselves. And thus, we can prepare ourselves, because each one of us… none of us will remain ‘as a relic.’ We must all go down this path,” he said.
Remembering that we will inevitably die can help us live the present moment better, he noted, “illuminating with the fact of death the decisions that I must make every day.”