Fr. Roy Cimagala .
WE need to be clear about this point. Our time here on earth is a time of transit toward eternity, from where we came and to where we are heading. That’s because we are creatures of God who is in eternity. We came from him, and since we have been made in his image and likeness, we are meant to be with him in all eternity.
Our definitive state of life is to be with God in eternity. We therefore need to be eternity-ready in our time here on earth. And we can approximate that state of life and prepare ourselves for it by trying to be with God always, following his will and ways as we go through the drama of our earthly life.
We should know how to flow with the times without getting lost along the way. While there are changing things as we flow with the times, we also have to know that there are things that are not supposed to change, that will always have permanent value and relevance to us.
While time is a continuum of the past, the present and the future, we have to see to it that it is meant to catapult us to eternity when everything will be in the present. Eternity is a mysterious state of life when there is no more past or future, no more change, no more transition.
In eternity, everything would be in the present, not in a stationary way but rather in a dynamic way. There is motion and dynamism as is characteristic of life, but there is no more change. Its stability is not a matter of idleness and non-activity.
To the extent that we manage to be with God and go along his will and ways, we would be relating our time here on earth to the eternity meant for us. We therefore should avoid being carried away and swallowed by the technicalities of our earthly life, no matter important they are. They should serve only as means and occasion to be with God in love.
It does not mean that we should not take our worldly and temporal affairs seriously. On the contrary, we have to put all our mind and heart into them since the way we handle them determines the kind of eternal destiny that we will have. They are no joking matter at all. We are asked to be fruitful and productive in this life, but with the proper motive and intention.
For this, we have to continually check if our spiritual and supernatural bearing is still functioning. When driven by faith, hope and charity, we can manage to convert our worldly and temporal affairs as occasions and means to love and serve God and others.
This may require a certain discipline that we have to learn as early as possible and to polish it frequently, given our condition that is vulnerable to the allurements of the world and of the flesh.
We have to remember that time is short. (cfr. 1 Cor 7,29) We cannot afford to waste time which is a most precious resource we have in fulfilling the ultimate goal of our life.
We need to manage our time well, seeing to it that whatever we do or whatever situation and condition we find ourselves in, we have to be sure that our time is spent in such a way it would bring us to our eternal destiny.
Time management is not only for some engineering projects. We need time management in our personal lives as well, and especially in our spiritual lives, that is, in our life of love with God and with everybody else.
For this, we have to be clear about the real purpose of our life and of how each event, condition and circumstance in our life can be related to that ultimate goal of ours. This is an indispensable skill we have to develop and help everybody else to also acquire for themselves.
It’s God’s work, folks. I mean it’s God’s work, first of all, before it is ours.
This business of our creation and redemption is begun by God and he also will be the one to complete and perfect it. (cfr. Phil 1,6)
On our own, we cannot. Neither did we begin it nor will we be able by ourselves to complete it. Only God began and will finish our creation and redemption.
Obviously our creation and redemption can be likened to a joint effort between God and man. That is because we have been created to be like him, able to know and love. As such we are meant to cooperate with God in our own creation and redemption.
Thus, while God will do everything to carry out our creation and redemption to completion, we also are expected to do everything to cooperate. It’s like a 100%-100% proposition, even if our all-out cooperation can never compare to God’s effort to create and redeem us.
This is, of course, a proposition that goes beyond mathematical laws, since we are not dealing here with merely quantifiable elements as much as with spiritual realities, ruled mainly by faith, hope and charity. In this latter system, the law that is followed is the all-or-nothing rule.
This means that the 100% we are supposed to give is not a 100% exclusive of God’s 100%. Rather, it is a 100% that reflects and channels God’s 100%. It’s a 100% that is homogeneous, not heterogeneous, to the 100% of God.
In short, this 100%-100% proposition we are talking about expresses the ideal proper to us in that we should try our best to achieve a total identification with God through Christ in the Holy Spirit. We should do everything with God, beginning things with him as well as ending them with him.
Said from another angle, we can say that every time we try to do all we can to resolve our temporal affairs, we should try to approximate our total identification with Christ who also went all the way to redeem us by offering his life on the cross. Yes, we have to be ready for the cross which, whether we like it or not, cannot be avoided in our life.
Christ did not simply preach and perform miracles, he did not simply amaze the crowd with his gracious words and marvelous cures. He went all the way to offer his life, showing us that his love for us is to the extreme, since he said, “No one has greater love than he who offers his life for his friends.” (Jn 15,13) He was willing to assume all our sins even if he himself did not commit any sin.
Every time therefore that we do our all we can, making use of whatever astuteness and cleverness we have to handle our earthly affairs, we should be keeping Christ more alive in us.
Far from separating us from Christ, our active involvement in the things of the world, if done properly, would keep us close to Christ. The world is no obstacle in our relation with God, if we keep this 100%-100% proposition in mind.
And even if our 100% cannot be compared to God’s 100%, we should just be reassured by what Christ told us: that the little we do, if done with love for God, can acquire tremendous power and produce abundant fruit.
Yes, with a little help from us the full wonder of God’s grace would be revealed to us. This was articulated by Christ himself when he compared the Kingdom of God to how a seed grows. (cfr. Mk 4,26-34)
“It is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”