Have you ever closed your eyes and tried to imagine what your funeral would be like? It may seem like a morbid thought, but I've done it a few times. I try to think of who would be there, what they'd say, what kind of food would be served, and how much it would cost to get my favorite sports teams' logo engraved onto my casket.
In my life I've lost several loved ones and been asked to give the eulogy a few times. It's always an honor to do that and it gives me a neat opportunity to reflect on how the person impacted my life and the lives of many others.
Often times throughout the day, I'm affected or inspired by someone who has passed away.In fact, at least once a day I'm inspired by the life and writings of my hero, Bl. John Paul II. Even though he passed on from earthly life, his jubilant, faithful heart still beats in the chests of believers around the world.
Everyone wants to be remembered fondly. Have you ever thought about what kind of legacy you're leaving behind? Your legacy is up to you.
Many things in life were just handed to you and you can't change them. There are parts of your story that have already been written. But you story isn't over; the pen is in your hand. Our story shouldn't just be pointing people towards us. It should be pointing people towards God, the true Author of Life.
Maybe something in your past has you convinced that your story is written and your legacy is finished. Turn the page. I have three words of advice for you: 'Live for Heaven.'
Everyone knows fun people who know how to have a great time on Earth. Some of those people live as if Earth is the last stop. It’s vital to Christian living to be joyful here on Earth, but to remember this is a journey, and Heaven is the destination. When you pass away people will be inspired by the joy and hope you had. They'll be moved by the way you chose eternal sanctification over immediate satisfaction.
They'll be challenged by the way you loved them, because you saw that Heaven was their destination too, and you wanted to help them get there. They will think about you, and end up thinking about Jesus.
They'll reflect on the ways they saw Christ in you. Even further, they'll reflect on the ways you saw Christ in them. They'll remember the way you treated them with respect and dignity. They'll remember the way you smiled at them and brightened their day. Those moments when you had every reason to frown but chose joy anyway will inspire them to be joyful.
They will smile when they reflect on the times you went out of your way to help them, got up early or stayed up late to do them a favor, and told corny jokes to make them laugh on a tough day.
Let your actions reflect honesty, faith, and virtue. Use words that build up the Kingdom. Conduct yourself with prudence and patience. Live in the hope and the promises of Jesus Christ. When you are long gone, the hope and promises of Jesus will remain. Become a saint. When people think of you, they will praise God.
That's the best kind of legacy you can leave.
If you're reading this and thinking that you're not capable of being the kind of person I mentioned, take that to prayer. Ask God for the strength to live the life He's calling you to live. Live according to the Gospel.
The sacrifices are temporary but the grace is eternal.