When we come upon the graves of the dead, we must remember that we'll soon be joining them, that nobody gets out of here alive, that even those of us in the best of health will be gone fifty years from now--maybe a few more, maybe a few less. That is the designated home for all the living--death. There the rich man and the poor man will be stretched out on a common bed and both will be content with only a small patch of earth. No distinction will be made there between the nobleman and the commoner, and the weak will no longer be stomped upon by the more powerful.
There the miser will no longer benefit from his money, nor will the clever profit from his cunning. There the prim will become the food of worms, and the dandy will give off an offensive odor. And those who have placed themselves on pedestals will be brought low and the praise that the proud were accustomed to will no longer be theirs. Take notice how all mortals tend toward nothing and how all flesh, made corrupt by sin, returns to its original source.
Therefore, strive so to live and through the sprit to mortify your flesh, that when your body turns into dust your soul will be judged worthy to rest in blessed peace. If you live your life in labor and sorrow on a Good Friday, you will have a restful Holy Saturday and then a most joyful Easter Sunday, the day of the resurrection of the just.
The more austerely you live in the world, so much more tranquil will be your repose in the grave. The more firmly you cling to the Cross, so much more assurance you have of reaching Christ. The more bitterly you deplore your sins, so much less will remain to be purged by the avenging flames. What does the priest say to us on Ash Wednesday: “Remember, man, that thou are dust and unto dust thou shalt return.” In a few years, a few months, a few days—you will return to dust. We all will. It’s just a matter of time—and how we use the time we’re given.
So lament during this time of grace, when the doors of mercy are open, and when God, in whom there is abundant redemption, accepts your repentance. Mourn also the wretched condition of the world and the incredible indifference of men. Only a few are found today to be true followers of the Crucified, and many permit their original spiritual fervor to grow cold.
Let meditating on Jesus Christ and him crucified be your daily prayer. Keep Jesus always before your eyes and keep ever near the foot of his Cross. Whether in life or in death, enter the tomb with Jesus so that when Christ, who is your life, shall appear again, you will rise with him in glory. Amen