Fr. Roy imagala .
WE need to be familiar with the doctrine of the “last things.” In fact, we need to feel at home with it, since it would certainly play an important role on how to arrange and direct our life.
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.
With death, I suppose we cannot question that anymore. It is a daily occurrence. But we may have to exert some effort to believe in the Christian faith about judgment, hell and heaven.
Yes, there are truly such things. Even if we are to go by our human reasoning alone, we would find our life here on earth completely useless and meaningless if there would be no judgment, hell and heaven.
But we have to be careful with tackling this matter with our reason alone. Without the light of faith, our reason can give us all sorts of explanations. It can lead us to some exciting insights but in the end, it can lead us nowhere. It can only give us so much light. It cannot capture everything.
The gospel is full of references to these last things, and we are always encouraged to be watchful in this life so that we tread the right path to our destination. Yes, our life here is like a journey, a pilgrimage to our definitive home which is actually in heaven where God is, from whom we came and to whom we belong.
Said in another way, our life here on earth is all about the ongoing creation of our own selves with God as the Creator and us as our own co-creator with God. That’s because God wants us to be like him, to be his image and likeness, to be his children, meant to share in his divine nature and life.
In a sense, our creation is a joint venture between God and us, and the completion of this venture would be at our death and at the end of time when, hopefully, we can, with God’s grace and our effort, truly become God’s image and likeness and the dignity of being God’s children definitively achieved.
Yes, our creation is still a work in the making. We are still under construction. But we have to look forward to its completion. Thus, St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans said: “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.” (8,19)
This should be the basic attitude to have in life. We are still a work in progress, and we should be doing our part in our own creation, fully cooperating as much as we can with God’s work of creation of us. For his part, God has given us everything we need to attain our definitive status.
Even if we mess up his plan, he has given us means to correct our mistakes. But we need to do our part as best as we can.
Thus, we have to be wary of how we use our time and the many things that we have. It would be good that every moment of our life, we ask ourselves if what we are doing is what God wants us to do.
This can only happen if we seek to identify ourselves with God through Christ in the Holy Spirit who now works in the Church. Let us always remember that we are supposed to be patterned after God who makes himself fully available in Christ, who in turn makes himself alive in us through the Holy Spirit that now inspires the Church.
Yes, we have to revisit regularly this important doctrine about the “last things” so we would be helped in know what we ought to do at every moment of our life here on earth.