End Well!

Ecclesiastes 7:8

Better is the end of a thing than its beginning;
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

Socrates said that the love of wisdom was the practice of death.  Another Greek story about a rich king who boasted of his wealth and then found himself beggared concludes, “Call no man happy till he is dead.”  If this seems to be a very gloomy view of life, that indicates how far we have drifted from the realities that surround us.  In the words of Bob Halligan, Jr. of the band Ceili Rain, we all of us have a date to “lay down in the back/of that long, black Cadillac”.  Getting ready for that date is ultimately what we are all in the business of doing.  Our end matters far more than our beginning.  We start from a wide variety of circumstances that we have no control over.  But every one of us has the power to receive the gift of eternal life in Christ and God doesn’t care one bit whether we do it in a white skin, a black skin, a male or female body, a poor shack or a rich mansion.  To be proud of our beginnings is to take silly credit for our gifts from God, like being proud of our hair color.  To receive the grace is to humbly thank God for his gift in Christ Jesus.  It is to end well, no matter how we start.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage