What Matters In Life

As a priest, I always give priority to the Anointing of the Sick and Confession for those who are chronically ill. The confession typically takes at least one hour. It is not only a confession but also a flashback of life. Typically, the three things talked about: first, the hurts in life, most especially broken relationships; second, the regrets in life, not really the mistakes but the things that should have been done and were not done; and finally, has God forgiven my sins?

Today we celebrate Ash Wednesday. It is a reminder that we are all just passing through in this life, it is all going to end and from dust, we came and from dust, we shall return. 

Hence, the Gospel reminds us of three things that matter in life:

  1. Almsgiving. St. Mother Teresa once said that if you do good, “people will doubt you, so do good anyway.” Though people can put down people doing good, in the end only three things matter, kindness, kindness, and kindness.
  2. Fasting. We live in a world that avoids hardship, suffering, and pain. Due to this, we just do things we want to do claiming that this is freedom, but in the process we get hurt. Fasting reminds us that true happiness comes from not having more but having less. 
  3. Prayer. In the end, we are going to leave this world and come face to face with the Lord. The question is, “Have I done His will?” When Jesus was on earth, he would always say, “The will of the Lord.”

This year’s Ash Wednesday is a week after Valentine’s day, the day of hearts, the day of love. This is a reminder that what really matters is doing things out of love. Almsgiving is useless if it is not done out of love; fasting is useless if we are just waiting for the end of the day and indulging; prayer is useless if we cannot show kindness to other people. The book Little Prince reminds us that the heart sees what is essential in life and that is prayer, almsgiving, and fasting done with love.

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