In confident hope we look forward to the resurrection of the body and the general judgment, but I am not my own final judge and neither are you your own final judge. So this time on earth is a time of preparation and trial… a time for each us to be formed for the life to come… a time of choosing and perfecting.
In our modern era, too many seem to believe that they have already been saved from hell with certitude and finality. This belief is not restricted just to those Christians who believe in the mistaken doctrine of “once saved, always saved.” Many today cannot conceive of the possibility that they will be excluded from Heaven; indeed at our loved ones’ funerals, we appear to celebrate a sort of canonization for the departed.
It is true that it is possible to continue in our conversions to the degree where it would be difficult to lose our salvation, but we should remain appropriately anxious and watchful… always ready for the day. The Advent season begins today and is a time to remember these truths; to make sure that we are ever watchful and ready.
“Let us sing alleluia here on earth, while we still live in anxiety, so that we may sing it one day in heaven in full security. Why do we now live in anxiety? Can you expect me not to feel anxious when I read: Is not man’s life on earth a time of trial? Can you expect me not to feel anxious when the words still ring in my ears: Watch and pray that you will not be put to the test? Can you expect me not to feel anxious when there are so many temptations here below that prayer itself reminds us of them, when we say: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us? Every day we make out petitions, every day we sin. Do you want me to feel secure when I am daily asking pardon for my sins, and requesting help in time of trial? Because of my past sins I pray: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and then, because of the perils still before me, I immediately go on to add: Lead us not into temptation. How can all be well with people who are crying out with me: Deliver us from evil? And yet, brothers, while we are still in the midst of this evil, let us sing alleluia to the good God who delivers us from evil.” (St. Augustine, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor of Grace; A.D. 354 – 430)
May you enjoyed a blessed and fruitful Advent season.
Editor’s note: Join us each day during Advent for a short reflection.