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“At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.” —St. John of the Cross

By Regis Martin, EWTN News, November 9, 2021

Regis MartinAs Leo Tolstoy, fabled author of War and Peace, lay dying, he reportedly turned to his wife, and in a voice fraught with desperation, cried out, “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do!” Replying to her husband, who was far from being a fabled figure to her, she answered commandingly, “Leo, you’re supposed to die. And I wish you’d get on with it!”

Unlike poor Leo, who appears to have been most fearfully ill-prepared, the rest of us should probably have a plan in place for contingencies like death. As the young missionary Jim Elliot, murdered at age 28, memorably put it, “When the the time comes to die, make sure that all you have to do is die.”

For life, too. In fact, we should all regularly perform an inventory of our lives. Taking stock is not supposed to be an exercise only in animal husbandry. But what questions do we ask? Only the most pressing. Nothing trivial will do. Whether I order fried, poached or scrambled eggs for breakfast does not, against the backdrop of eternity, qualify as a serious question. It is fairly frivolous, in fact, because, as Pascal would say, it fails to take one by the throat. …