VOICE FROM THE SOUTH
By FR. EMETERIO BARCELON, SJ
In a couple of weeks we come to the end of the liturgical year. The liturgy reminds us to look at the end of times and the end of our lives. It is a time of taking assessment of our lives. How successful have we been in the goals we have set for ourselves? Without proper assessment we can go on blissfully to our own destruction, far from the objectives we set for ourselves to attain. But first of all what goals have we set to have accomplished? What have we set for ourselves to have accomplished here in this world and in the world to come? Perhaps we have neglected this important phase of our lives. How can we tell if we have succeeded in life?
First of all we have to set goals for success in this life and in the next. Then we have to plan on how to reach those goals. Then implement our plans. Then check on how successful we have been in implementing our plans. As we make plans for this world we also have to make plans for the next world. The end of times may not be imminent but each of us has to face individual death. We must face a time of reckoning for the resources and graces that we have received. GOAL, PLANS, IMPLEMENTATION, and REVIEW is the slogan that we have to keep repeating to ourselves. And this has to be done for both worlds in which we live, the material and the spiritual lives that we live in.
After we have set goals in this life we need enthusiasm or a can-do spirit. This ideally can come from those around us, especially those who are charged with our development, namely parents, elders, educators, and bosses. Without this encouragement we have to rely on our own. This is more difficult but it can be done. But encouragement is needed and this is a sacred duty of those given the responsibility of our development. Beyond personal development there is the question of finances that we can have enough for a comfortable retirement. Also included in our goals is a goal to help fellow man. This can be wide ranging but we have to choose one or two to be of use to our fellow man since we are a social animal that depends on the help of others.
On the spiritual side we also have to make goals. However, here we have an overarching goal of getting to heaven. But under that we have sub-goals is like keeping out of sin or preventing our tendencies to run wild. Here we have religious obligations condensed in the two great commandments: To love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves. These are then detailed in the common five pebbles. We have to go to Mass and Communion on Sundays; say the rosary at least once a day; read the Scriptures if possible for thirty minutes a day; make some sacrifice at least once a week; and finally go to confession once a year but preferably once a month. (The Holy Father in Rome goes to confession every week.) Our target in the spiritual life is to live like saints here on earth.
The end of the year gives us another chance to reset our goals and make new plans for the coming year and ask the Lord for grace and assistance and reboot our resolve once again to do our best. <[email protected]>