“Be prepared” is the famous motto of the Boy Scouts, Per its website, this saying means “that you are always ready to do what is necessary to help others.” I believe Kempis would endorse this way of life, and not only for others, but for ourselves (whom he is focused on here), as well (1,23). By always having our earthly demise in mind (not morbidly or obsessively, but realistically — it comes for all of us), we will not be caught unawares or unprepared in soul to meet our Lord.
David’s psalm of thanksgiving (Ps 30:2 and 4, 5-6, 11-12a and 13b) is worth reading in its entirety (it is quite short). The repentant David (adultery and murder are in his past — see 2 Sam 11) praises God for his help and healing, urges others to do the same, recalls how he threw Himself on the mercy of God (see the headline), and then closes with another word of thanksgiving.
To honor Kempis’s (and Jesus’ — see Mt 25:13) call to “be prepared,” a regular reading of Psalm 31 is recommended. “Have pity on me! I can’t do this on my own.” “I know my sins are many and great, and they fill me with fear, but I hope in your mercies, for they cannot be numbered” (from this beautiful prayer of St. Ambrose). Humility, acknowledging our complete dependence on God, disposes us to acknowledging our sins, asking for forgiveness, and being open to the grace to not repeat them or fall into new ones.
May our Lord never find us unprepared for His mission for us in this life of for His calling us to the next life.
David and Bathsheba from 20th Century Fox, 1951