By Fr. Roy Cimagala
WE are approaching the end of the liturgical year, and it’s expected that we are reminded of what are called the “last things,” namely death, judgment, hell and heaven. In other words, we are also reminded of Christ’s second coming where judgment will be made to see if we have been faithful to his will and ways as we navigate our earthly life.
That is why, in the gospel, we are reminded of the coming of the Kingdom of God and of the second coming Christ which we would not exactly know. We are just told to be prepared always for it. (cfr. Lk 17,20-25)
In this regard, it is good that we always develop what is termed as an eschatological mind and that we always be eternity-ready, because that is what is meant for us.
Eschatology is that part of theology concerned with death, judgment and the final destination of the soul and humanity itself, that is, heaven or hell, or the so-called the Last Things. It may sound scary at first, but it actually is very helpful. We just have to make the necessary adjustments in our attitude toward it.
So, it’s a part of theology and not a merely empirical science. We need to have inputs of faith which actually play a directing role in the study. We cannot simply rely on so-called observable data, material or sociological, that by definition cannot fathom the spiritual and supernatural dimensions of our life.
To have an eschatological mind means that we know that our earthly life has eternal effects on our afterlife. We have to learn how to live our earthly with the view of our eternal and supernatural destination.
Thus, we should develop a sense of time that is connected to eternity. We need to remind ourselves of this basic truth about this human condition of ours since we tend to ignore it or give it little importance and due concern.
In other words, we need to be eternity-ready all the time. This means that of the things that we have to take care of, it should be our spiritual life, our relation with God and with others that should be given precedence. We should try to see to it that our spiritual life is vibrant, fruitful and productive, seeing to it that it enjoys the highest level of Christian integrity that we, with God’s grace, can attain.
We should not be afraid to be aware always of this truth about death, the end of the world and our duty to reach the goal of eternal life. That awareness should not be regarded as some kind of sword of Damocles. Such awareness would actually make us most realistic about our life here on earth, helping us to be very discerning of the many things in our life, so we would know what to think, judge and do, avoiding getting lost in our earthly sojourn.
Especially these days when we are easily carried away by many distracting elements, we need to remind ourselves quite strongly that we have to be well focused on what is truly essential in our life.
We have to remind ourselves that our life here on earth is actually a testing and training ground for what God, our Father and Creator, wants us to be, that is, that we be his image and likeness, adopted children of his, meant to share in his very own life in eternity.