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Good morning!

Here in London almost everything is closed. Churches are now closed, coffee shops no longer offer take out, we are like other countries such as France.

Boris Johnson, our prime minister, spoke to us last night and besides going out for one of these 3 reasons, we should stay indoors.

1. Exercise, only once per day

2. To buy food or medication

3. Necessary work

He described the virus as an ‘invisible killer’.

And while he’s right and we must do all we can to cooperate with him and minimise risks we have an opportunity also to stop and reflect on other invisible killers and how to minimise those risks too!

As an actuary my job was about risk mitigation for life insurance companies ironically who’s products too are all around death. When you will die and how much money your loved ones will get and who will pay for your funeral expenses are the sad realities of this industry.

As this invisible killer looms we have the opportunity to sit back and to ask ourselves honestly the following question.

Am I ready to die?

The purpose of asking this question is not to frighten ourselves but to be honest.

As an actuary we were taught that you sell car insurance but life assurance! Did you notice the spelling difference between insurance and assurance?

Car insurance because an accident might or might not happen, hopefully not, but….

Life assurance because you are sure to die, it’s just a question of when!

This is why many saints prayed with a skull in their rooms like in the previous picture. This was to remind themselves every day of the reality of death and so they could live every day as if it were their last!

Questions to ask ourselves include:

Have I been a good person?

Are there people I haven’t forgiven?

Have I been a good example?

Have I prayed and honoured God with my life, my values and my ethics ?

Many people fear asking themselves these questions because they know the answer! No, no, no again and emmm, NO!

And yet the good news is that it’s never too late to make a fresh start and to turn things around!

Most of the saints were big sinners who had a close brush with death and then changed their lives! They were no different than me or you, maybe even worse.

And so as we sit at home let us ask ourselves some more questions honestly and truthfully;

Am I happy with the direction that my life is going? With my job, career, family, vocation?

And

What can I do to change some of these things before another 20 years pass me by?

Have I got bad habits such as addictions and bad attitudes and relationships with friends and family?

And

If so what practical steps such as joining an addiction recovery group or phoning members of my family and friends and asking for their forgiveness can I do?

Another good question is with God!

God, have I put you at the centre of my life? Have I tried my best to do your will? Have I prayed and gone to church?

Again if not, maybe now is the time to start to pray and to turn over a new leaf and start afresh!

God is merciful and while we can’t do much about the past, by taking His hand we can do a lot about the future.

And so as many people around the world are dying and perhaps haven’t had the chance to ask themselves these questions and as many more will die over the next few weeks and indeed you and I may be one of them, what better time to step back from life and turning to God receive His mercy and start a new and more prayerful chapter to the rest of our lives.

Have a blessed day and let us all thank God that we are alive as we hold the sick and dying all over the world in both thought and prayer.

Michael