If we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him (Rom 6, 8)
Whether at death I rest eternally in God or my heart stays restless will depend on whether during my mortal life my heart is in God as my treasure or I cherish worldly goods and rely on them.
My pursuit of the lasting city begins in this passing city. I cannot arrive at my final destination without taking the beginning steps.
Admiral William McRaven reminds me in a commencement speech of the importance of the first steps. The first recommendation he gives is: “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
A task of little consequence? If someone makes his bed, he assures himself of accomplishing the first task of the day and gaining a small sense of pride that may encourage him to do other tasks. If one has just had a miserable day, when he comes home to a bed that is made, he will get the feeling that not everything is lost and that tomorrow will be better.
I hear here an echo of Jesus’ observation: “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. St. Vincent de Paul’s words and works also testify to the great importance of small beginnings.
This means it will be difficult for me to opt finally for the absolute good if I keep refusing to opt for the relative goods that come my way each day—say, that of paying attention to a needy person. To put off from day to day my assisting the poor makes for my hearing all of a sudden, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.”
Hence, Jesus should be for me right now the way, the truth and the life. He is the answer now to the deepest human questions about the meaning of life that arise from the experience of joy and grief (GS 10). Now is the time to live like Jesus Christ in order to die like Jesus Christ (Coste I:295).
We die as we live. I will not remember God’s eternal hope-giving mercy if, never having felt it, I do not even know what it is. And if I am not so compassionate, would I have the nerve to appear on judgment day before the Son of Man who nourishes me now with his body and blood? Would I myself not depart from him out of shame?
Lord Jesus, grant that the faithful departed live with you and that we the living die with you.
Ross Reyes Dizon