By Fr. Roy Cimagala
AS we commemorate all the souls of our beloved faithful departed brethren on November 2, we are reminded that we are promised eternal life as long as we believe in Christ. “It is my Father’s will that whoever sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and that I should raise that person up on the last day,” Christ said. (Jn 6,40)
We should just see to it that we are always engaged with Christ whatever we are doing, whatever the situation and condition of our life may be. It should be Christ, more than anything or anybody else, with whom we should be relating.
For this, we have to train ourselves, considering that we are often entangled and trapped simply in the technical, practical and temporal aspects of our life. We need to make ourselves true contemplative souls even while immersed in the middle of the world.
We have to learn to see Christ in everything. If our belief in the constant presence of Christ in our life is not yet strong and abiding, then we have to submit ourselves to some plan or program that would make that ideal a living reality. Let’s remember that Christ himself assured us he will always be with us till the end of time. “I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” he said. (Mt 28,20)
We have to realize that we need to be guided by our faith more than anything else. We should be wary of our strong tendency to be led only by our senses, emotions, perceptions, imagination, memory, etc.
While these human faculties are indispensable and are very useful, they need to be guided by faith, otherwise we would fail to see the full dimension of the reality meant for us, that is, the spiritual and supernatural life meant for us.
It’s when we are guided by our faith that we would realize that there is such thing as what we usually refer to as “life after death.” In fact, we would realize that there is such truth as the “last things.” The doctrine of the ‘last things’ refers to what would happen to us at the end of our life here on earth. These ‘last things’ are death, judgment, hell and heaven, with purgatory as a transitory state.
If we are guided by our Christian faith, we would know that our life here on earth is some kind of training and testing ground God is giving us. God is actually still forming us to be what he wants us to be—his image and likeness, his adopted children meant to share in his very own life. Our creation is not yet finished. It’s still a work in progress.
This is a truth of faith that should be clear in our mind so that we can do our part properly in God’s ongoing creation of us. In short, we can say that God is still training us as well as testing us, because even if he is the one who solely creates us, he wants us to correspond properly to his designs for us.
That’s because we are not merely inert creatures or living creatures like the plants and animals that are incapable of knowingly and lovingly corresponding to their creation by God. We, on the other hand, being endowed by God with intelligence and will and freely given his grace, have to also want what God wants us to be. We have a role to play in making ourselves God’s image and likeness.