The world, time and eternity
That gospel story about Lazarus and the rich man (cfrLk16,19-31) reminds us that we have to be careful not to be so swallowed up by worldly and temporal affairs that we forget that our ultimate destination is heaven in eternity.
Our worldly and temporal affairs are, of course, very important to us, but they should serve only as means, not as ends, of our life here on earth which is actually a kind of pilgrimage. The Letter to the Hebrews says something apropos: “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” (13,14)
In one of the prayers of the Roman Missal, the same sentiment is also expressed: “As we walk amid passing things, you teach us by them to love the things of heaven and hold fast to what endures.”
We have to be ready to translate these words of our Christian ideal into a reality in our life. We cannot deny that our weakened human condition has this intense tendency to get so immersed in our worldly and temporal affairs as to extinguish our desire for our definitive eternal life in heaven.
It does not mean that we should not take our worldly and temporal affairs seriously. On the contrary, we have to put all our mind and heart into them since the way we handle them determines the kind of eternal destiny that we will have. They are no joking matter at all. We are asked to be fruitful and productive in this life, butwith the proper motive and intention.
For this, we have to continually check if our spiritual and supernatural bearing is still functioning. When driven by faith, hope and charity, we can manage to convert our worldly and temporal affairs as occasions and means to love and serve God and others.
This may require a certain discipline that we have to learn as early as possible and to polish frequently, given our condition that is vulnerable to the allurements of the world and of the flesh.
That is why Christ told us that we have to continually deny ourselves and carry the cross daily to enable us to follow Christ and not somebody or something else in this life. (cfr. Mt 16,24)
Learning that discipline, exerting effort to assume a spiritual and supernatural bearing while immersed in the things of this world should not be hard if we consider that our worldly and temporal affairs and all the materials involved are part of God’s providence. They are not and should not be an obstacle in our love for God and others, since it is God who is behind all of them.
Even in our mistakes and sins, we can still make use of them to relate ourselves—and even in more intense way—to God. Remember that episode about a sinful woman who shed tears on Christ’s feet, then wiped them with her hair and perfumed them. (Lk 7,36-50)
“Her many sins have been forgiven,” he said, “for she loved much. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” (7,47)
Our sins can occasion a great surge of love for God when we go to him asking for forgiveness which is actually readily given.We should never forget that every event in our life, including the bad ones, can be a material and a means for conversing with God and nourishing our relationship with him.
The important thing to do is that we so make full use of the gifts of faith, hope and charity as to enable us to look, find and love God in everything that we do and in every situation we may find ourselves in.*
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