Each time something horrible happens in our world, I find myself having the same conversation with one person or another: “Do you think this is the end?” It used to make me very anxious. “No man knows the day,” so it very well might be, right? If it is, what am I doing bothering with learning, shopping, cleaning, or anything? It would all be pointless.
Last year, there was some very bizarre astrological phenomenon that gave me pause. Surely, I thought, this must signify something, and maybe it did. It’s not like God never used the stars to point things out before. But even if it did, and even if that thing it signified was the end of time, I began to realize it shouldn’t matter.
Let’s say you were fairly well assured that we were at the tail end of the Last Days. What would you do? My personal list would look something like this: get myself and my family to confession, spend time at Mass and in adoration, say lots of Rosaries, try to convince as many people as I can to turn to God before time ran out, and be with my loved ones. Looking over that list, the thing that strikes me is always, “Well, that’s all stuff I should be doing anyway!”
The Tim McGraw song tells us to “Live Like You Are Dying,” and it’s good advice. I highly doubt a crummy election cycle, a solitary astrological phenomenon, or division in the Church are the horsemen of the Apocalypse, but nobody is guaranteed a tomorrow. That shouldn’t throw us into a panic; it should just encourage us to strive for perfection today.
Everything we do is supposed to bring us closer to God. Even things as mundane as math class or the dinner dishes should reinforce our vocation and enable us to be better followers of Christ. So as long as your day-to-day living isn’t taking you further from God, it is absolutely good preparation for the End of Days. If writing is bringing you and others closer to God, that’s not a waste. If you can offer your distaste for laundry up as a sacrifice, that’s not a waste. If exercising keeps your body functioning well to serve others, that’s not a waste.
Not one of us can see the entire picture of what’s happening in our world, and we don’t need to. Maybe the sky will start falling tomorrow, maybe those stars will stay up there for another million years. It’s not necessary for us to know how long we have. Christ tells us to be ready at all times, to be a saint today, not just when we are old, or in the Last Days if we live to see them. Most of us aren’t going to achieve that sainthood through martyrdom, through great public declarations and debates, we are going to achieve sainthood through our everyday living, one small step at a time.
Keep Thou my feet: I do not ask to see
The distant scene, — one step enough for me.
(John Henry Newman)
If the world was going to end tomorrow, what’s one thing you would do? Can you do that thing today?
Copyright 2018 Hilary Thompson