A Choice between Life and Death

– Thursday after Ash Wednesday –

‘I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him.’ [Deuteronomy 30:19-20a]

The choice is yours; at every moment of every day, you get to choose between life and death. It starts by recognising that everything you say and do, or fail to say or do, matters.

Here we are using ‘life’ and ‘death’ symbolically. That is to say, we bring to mind that every act of love and kindness participates in bringing life, and every act of selfishness and impatience participates in bringing death. The road to life is the road to God, who is the source of all life.

You are invited to pay attention to this without worrying about it. If you start to worry, you are already defeated. You will focus on yourself, and on the fact that you are worried, and fail to recognise what is going on in and around you. The ‘choice’ will pass you by. Just become present to what is being said here, and trust that the merciful God is working with you, calling you into being.

These are not easy times. It is no coincidence that in periods of extended difficulty, the great saints come to the fore. What distinguishes them is not how extraordinary they are; it is their willingness to keep choosing life irrespective of what their lives throw at them. It is the narrow road, but also the road in which peace and joy can be found. You have been invited to walk this road. 


By Shane Dwyer

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