Focus on our ultimate goal

“TEACH us how to live in this passing world with our heartset on the world that will never end.” This is part of a EucharisticPreface for Lent which reminds us that we should have our focus on theultimate goal of life without getting confused and lost as we immerseourselves in the passing things of this world.

This point echoes what St. Paul said in his Letter to theColossians: “Since you have been raised with Christ, strive for thethings above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Setyour minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (3,1-2)

More or less the same idea is reiterated in anotherliturgical prayer which says, “May we receive the grace to cast offthe old way of life and to redirect our course toward the life ofheaven.”

We should be mindful of this need of ours to have theproper focus in our life. We should do everything to be able to havethat focus, given the fact that in our earthly life, we cannot helpbut get immersed in so many earthly and temporal things.

May we know how to relate the things of this world to ourultimate heavenly and eternal goal. May we know how to avoid gettingstranded, stuck or entangled with the things of this world, with allthe technicalities of our earthly affairs, with all kinds ofdistractions that the world is now full of.

Everything in our earthly life, whether good or bad inhuman terms, can and should be related to God. Everything can be anoccasion, a path and a means to know, love and serve God and others.

Relating everything to God is an art and skill that weneed to learn and master. And for that ideal to become real, effectiveand operative, we certainly have to develop our spiritual life thatwould involve many things.

For one, we have to learn how to pray. Of course, we haveto be convinced first of all of the indispensability andpracticability of prayer in our life. We have to know, for example,why we have to pray, what the purposes and kinds of prayer are, etc.We have to develop the discipline and habit of praying. The problem wehave now is that many people do not know how to pray, or that theydon’t even care to pray.

Then we have to deepen our knowledge of the doctrine ofour faith so we can be more familiar and hopefully become more able tocarry out God’s will. Let’s remember that God revealed himselfcompletely to us through Christ, and that revelation is not onlyhistorical but also existential.

That revelation continues to take place even now till theend of time through God’s power. But we have to do our part incorresponding to it as faithfully as possible. And, to be sure, it isnot only revelation that is being done. Again through his mysteriouspower and ways, God continues to deal with us directly and wants toidentify himself with us since he wants us to be his image andlikeness.

Yes, we have to study the doctrine of our faith with theview of conforming our mind and will to God’s mind and will, and lateron to reflect in our life the very life of God himself. This may soundlike a very fantastic, incredible assertion to make, but that happensto be what God wants for us.

We just have to believe that this can be done, not so muchbecause of our effort, though we are asked to do our best, but becauseof God’s power. What is impossible with us is always possible withGod. But we need to go along as best as we can with God’s will andways, echoing Christ’s words:

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will,but the will of him who sent me.” (Jn 6,38)