I just read that Thomas Moore coined the term “a penny for your thoughts” in his 1522 book “Four Last Things”. Basically it means, “What’s on your mind?”
I was wondering how this term ended up in a book about the “Four Last Things”. Hmmmmm.
As a reminder, the “Four Last Things” are death, judgement, heaven, and hell. Many saints have written about these “Big Four”. Meditating on them has been called a remedy for “lukewarmness”…. that great sickness of the soul.
So, a penny for your thoughts”… what’s on your mind? Are “the last four things” on your mind ? I know they are coming, but I may not want to think about them. Yikes …. death, judgement, heaven, hell. Maybe if I don’t think about that moment, it won’t happen….. If I can just distract myself with the “things of the world”, I won’t have to think about it. “Hey, I’m pretty healthy… I’m not that old… my Uncle Fred lived to be a hundred…I have plenty of time…I’ll think about it in 10 years or so.”
But, the saints would say that we need to meditate on the “Four Last Things”. Not thinking about them won’t make them go away. The key is to prepare for the inevitable…. prepare for death and judgement. I have to say that it can be a frightening thought… everything is at stake…the consequences couldn’t be greater. Yet, we know how to get ready….. and if we’re ready, we don’t have to be anxious and worried. So, are we ready? Am I ready ? If we are ready and our bags are packed, then we don’t have to worry when we get the call.
If we know the questions before the exam, then we can prepare. Here’s a question(s) we might be asked…..“ Dave, tell me about your life…how did you do…how did you love…. did you ever hurt anyone, disobey God and his commands to love….if so, how did you make up for these… did you respond to my offers of redemption, my offers of forgiveness…. what did you do with the grace I poured out upon you to love others, to serve others, to love God ?”
Well, I can tell you that I made a fair amount of mess over the years of my life. I had some good moments and some bad moments. If you balanced the good and the bad on the scale, I’m not sure how it would work out. But, I do have a special card that I have stamped by the Lord. In my life, I accepted the offer from the Lord of his fantastic love. I’ve asked the Lord to forgive my sins and have decided to follow Jesus…and by his grace and mercy, he has forgiven me. I’m a friend of Jesus. I love him and have tried very hard to follow and obey him. He is number one in my life. This doesn’t mean I don’t fail him, yet when I do, I try to quickly return, asking for his forgiveness again and starting anew. I try to pray and be fortified with the wonderful sacraments of the Church…especially of Confession and the Eucharist. Wow, in spite of my efforts to live a holy life, I’m mainly relying on Christ’s promise of mercy.
So, when my time for the “Four Last Things” arrives, I’m really counting on the fact that I know the judge. The judge is Jesus , my Lord and Savior … my friend. I’m trusting that he will welcome me home… not based on my perfect life, but based on the fact that he loves me and died on the cross for my sins.
So, now is the time to become friends with Jesus…accepting his offer of mercy and forgiveness and promise of eternal life. He will not turn you away. He loves you with an everlasting love. And that is VERY GOOD NEWS.