Putting the last stone
This should be a habit, better still, an instinct that we should develop in ourselves. It means that whatever good thing we have started, we should end, complete and perfect as much as possible. We should avoid leaving things hanging, or starting well but ending badly. We have to put the last stone in any undertaking we have.
This attitude reflects the very attitude of God toward us. As St. Paul would put it, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1,6) Of course, only God can truly start and end things well and perfectly. But being image and likeness of God, we are supposed to approximate that attitude as best that we can.
To be able to finish our undertakings, we obviously need to plan things well, seeing to it that we have the resources and means needed, or at least that we have the calculated certainty that we can finish things, given the fact that we may not have all the means we need at the start of an endeavor or project
Let’s remember one relevant teaching of Christ when he said: “Which of you, wishing to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost to see if he has the resource to complete it? Otherwise, if he lays the foundation and is unable to finish the work, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This person began to build and was not able to finish.’” (Lk 14,28-30)
This healthy and Christian attitude is most relevant in our daily spiritual struggles. We cannot deny that every day we have challenges to face, trials to tackle, problems to solve, and we may manage to resolve most if not all of them during the day. We just have to be most wary that at the end of the day, we don’t let down our guard and let our weaknesses and temptations to overcome us.
That possibility is very likely to happen. We know that in our daily struggles, we make a lot of sacrifices, even forcing ourselves to forego certain things, like our comfort and convenience, if only to stay the course of our struggles. We can do and perform well during the day.
But at the end of the day, strong temptations can come, rousing our weaknesses and bombarding us with the thought that it is time to let loose the inclinations of the body and give a break to our weaknesses that want to reclaim their “lost rights.”
This is when we should be most guarded, intensifying our prayer and spirit of recollection, and putting ourselves completely in the hands of God in whom we can have our proper rest and with whom we can properly end the day.
This will require a tremendous act of self-denial which is always worthwhile, for what it gives in return is way above what we seem to lose in our self-denial. In this, it is good to remember that divinely guaranteed promise of Christ:
“No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the gospel will fail to receive a hundredfold in the present age — houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields, along with persecutions — and to receive eternal life in the age to come.” (Mk 10,29-30)
Of course, there is always the possibility that in spite of our effort to persevere doing and being good all way to the end, we would still fail. We can succumb to our weaknesses and to the temptations. This is something we should not be surprised about.
In this case, all we have to do is to go to God immediately, asking for pardon. That should be the last stone of the day, for God’s mercy has the last word!*
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