“Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Mt 25:13)
The moment that we wait for is the second coming of Jesus: “The resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come”, as we say in the Creed.
For each one of us, the entrance in this new dimension is the end of the walk on this earth: the hour of death, or better, as the first Christians would say, the hour of one’s birth. Our life is actually an existence which will end, a path that at a certain point is interrupted. If we do not consider this, if we live as if we will live forever on this earth, our life is false, not authentic, not truly human.
Let us then do a test: in order to understand this attitude upon which Jesus insists so much, let us try to live one day as if it were the last day of our life. It is not all just a make believe, above all because, given that that moment will come, it is not very important if it will happen today or in fifty years from now. If we do this, there happens in ourselves a change: many things loose their value, we acquire many other values, and above all we find ourselves ever more free from possible illusions and we live more fully.
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An Experience of Life:
One day, a man asked the surgeon where I work the results of the exam for his father. The results were terrible: malignant tumor; they will try an operation, but most likely there is nothing that can be done. The man became pale: his mother and his sister were waiting outside. How can he give them the news? How can he prepare his father? He was really desperate. I felt inside myself his suffering and I wanted to do something. I drew near to him and I asked him: “Do you believe in God?”. He lifted up his head and he looked at me stupefied. “Yes, in a certain sense I believe”. The surgeon having already gone out, called me. I followed him. A few minutes later, while I was passing again in the waiting room, I saw again that man still there, pensive, with his head between his hands. I had in my purse a page with the explanation of a phrase from the Gospel: I give it to him. A little surprised, he began to read it. “Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour…” I tried a little bit to explain the phrase: “In this suffering is truly Him, God, Who comes to visit you, will all of His love…” He listened to me attentively and he seemed to become more calm, and to find a little bit of serenity. Before leaving, he suddenly turned to me: “I would be happy if you might be present during the operation. Your presence will give us courage.” I was there on the morning of the operation; I prayed to Jesus to be only, for however much I am able, an instrument of His love.
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P.s. You might find rather interesting the book “Lord of the World” by Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson (1871–1914) who was the son of the Archbishop of Canterbury and whose conversion to Catholicism caused a stir. Even though the book was published over 100 years ago, it gives an imaginative foretelling of the end of the world with many prophetic descriptions that we see today. Benedict XVI, as Cardinal Ratzinger before his election to the papacy, made positive references to the novel in some of his talks. You can download the book at: http://www.authorama.com/book/lord-of-the-world.html.