Sunday, October 9, 2011

Steve Jobs: Remember that you are going to die.


Steve Jobs

1955-2011



You probably all heard about this in the news that founder of Apple and the iPod and Ipad, Steve Jobs has died.  Many are commenting about the mark that he has left on our world with his great vision.  While I do agree with this and have used the iPod for a lot of good (last week I used it to celebrate mass and renew my parents vows, and I use it daily to pray my Divine Office as well as prepare for mass by pulling up the daily mass readings at www.usccb.org/bible/readings/) .  I even first heard about his death while reading my iPad.  He wasn’t a man motivated by the Gospel; it was more of his own ego that wanted to “leave a mark on the universe.”  http://www.patheos.com/community/deaconsbench/2011/10/07/being-great-but-not-good-the-spirituality-of-steve-jobs/

What I did find to be significant about him was the outlook he had on the reality of death and the preciousness of living your life now.  So while I don’t want to canonize him, I do think there was some good in his life that can be redeemed and reflected on. 

The readings for this Sunday could be used for a funeral homily especially the first reading:

On this mountain he will destroy
the veil that veils all peoples,
the web that is woven over all nations;
he will destroy death forever.
The Lord GOD will wipe away
the tears from every face;
the reproach of his people he will remove
from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken.
On that day it will be said:
"Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!
This is the LORD for whom we looked;
let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!"

In a commencement speech that he gave a few years ago at Stanford, Jobs said: 'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs.  He then proceeded to tell three stories; it’s the final story speaks to today’s readings. 

“My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”


St. Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercises would often say that when making an important decision in your life, it’s good to meditate as if you were on your death bed to help you discern what is truly for the Greater Glory of God. 

Remember that life is so short, it’s gone in a “flash”, in the “blink of an eye” it’s all over.  “If today were the last day of your life, would you be happy with what it is that you are doing?”  If you were lying on your death bed would feel at peace going to God?  Is there anything in your life that you need to change? 

“Remember that you are going to die… you are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart.”  And as we here in today’s second reading:  

I can do all things in him who strengthens me.


For more reading on the subject:

Steve Jobs: The Secular Prophet


Apple’s Steve Jobs was a ‘No Good Man’



3 comments:

  1. A hard subject to embrace, our own death! I do believe we were all put here to make an impact on the world on some form. Even Jesus He was going to die and still focused on His day to day goals and although not popular He lived life like He stated in Matthew 25 about how God would judge us. Give that credit to Mother Therea because that is how she lived her life. God bless!

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  2. Steve Jobs' favorite quote was, "Live every day as though it was your last, because someday it will be". So, Steve Jobs was well aware of his mortality. And he lived to the fullest, all the way from his intelligence and creativity to his Buddism and pot smoking. He was truly one of a kind. - Anne

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  3. Steve Jobs could have been aborted.But his birth mother decided to let him live and be adopted. How many great minds have been lost to abortion? How many cures to the diseases we are confronted with today could have been found? All life is a precious gift from God.

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