Friday, August 10, 2007

The Mystery of Life

1. "Life," said the poet Tommaseo, "is only a remembrance, a hope, and a passing moment."

How true this is. This life which preoccupies us so much is only a point of time which continually passes and evades us. We live on memories and on hopes, but in reality our life is no more than an elusive period of time flowing into the ocean of eternity.

Yesterday we did not exist, and tomorrow we shall be no more. Yesterday God called us forth from nothingness, and tomorrow He will summon us from this fleeting existence in order to reward or punish us in eternity. It is the great mystery of life that so much depends on a vanishing moment of time.

We have two alternatives. We can direct our course in life towards God, in which case we shall one day be happy with Him for ever. Or we can travel in the opposite direction in pursuit of sensual satisfaction and transitory worldly success, in which case we shall one day be rejected by God and shall be doomed to everlasting unhappiness.

Let us reflect on the importance of our choice.

2. We know that the past can never return and that the future is so uncertain that it may not even exist for us. We realise that our life is nothing more than a passing moment. If we meditate on these truths, how can we be attached to worldly objects Even if we could attain the objects of our desire, they would soon be snatched away from us.

Let us aim at those lasting values which are not passing,which can remain with us during life, comfort us at death, and accompany us into eternity. We know what these substantial values are-holiness, the grace of God, the conquest of our sensible appetites, and the final enjoyment of God in Heaven. These things do not pass away, but will remain with us for ever.

3. These reflections reveal to us the transience of this life and make sorrows and hardship seem easier to endure, and even welcome if we know how to offer them to God. What difference will the sufferings of a past existence make?

What will remain tomorrow of the trials which we have encountered today? Only a consoling memory, as long as we have offered them to God. Let us examine all our affections, desires and sufferings in the light of eternity. Viewed in that relationship, they can all become a source of self-sanctification.