It’s the season of Advent again, opening a new liturgical year. There can be many things that can come to mind with this season of Advent. For one, it’s a time of expecting and preparing for the birth of Christ on Christmas. That is in the short run. In the long run, it is also a time of expecting and preparing for the second and glorious coming of Christ, the Parousia.
Advent also means that since it marks the beginning of another liturgical year, we need to re-enliven our sense of making a new beginning in our spiritual life that is the very foundation of our whole life, since it is what relates us to God, our Father and Creator, our be-all and end-all, as well as to everybody else. There, therefore, is a great need to make some serious and effective plans and strategies to pursue that most important goal of our life.
We have to remember that our life here on earth is like a divine project that has a beginning and an end, and a very concrete purpose. But it’s a project that we also take active part in, since as an intelligent and free creature of God capable of knowing and loving God and others, we are meant to knowingly and lovingly correspond to God’s plans for us individually and collectively. We are not passive materials in this project.
And this divine project takes the form of a yearly cycle, what we call as the liturgical year, where the working of the whole economy of salvation that God has for us, takes place. God’s interventions in our life are actually constant and abiding.
This yearly cycle of the divine project is meant to prepare us for our ultimate eternal destination. It would be good if we make ourselves most aware of this truth of our faith, so that we know what we ought to do in this earthly life of ours.
For this, a prayer that can be helpful is the Glory Be, where we find the words, “As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.” Let’s put our mind and heart into these words if only to remind ourselves strongly that we need to have a good sense of continuity and consistency between our beginning and end, between the past, present and future, and between time and eternity.
Let us foster the awareness of this basic truth about ourselves and about our life here on earth. We need to encourage everyone to have a clear and strong sense of purpose, and to know how to pursue it given our human condition and all the means that God has given us.
We therefore cannot overemphasize this basic need of ours to make plans and strategies. If we have to develop ourselves as we should, if we have to be truly productive and fruitful, if we have to take advantage of everything in life, whether good or bad, to attain our ultimate goal, then we have to plan and strategize our moves.
Making plans and strategies may require some time and effort, but it’s an investment that is all worth it. The little time and effort required can actually multiply our time and make our efforts more productive at the end of the day. It’s like the little rudder that St. James talked about in his letter. (cfr. 3,4) Our plans and strategies can have the power to accomplish great things, like a little rudder giving direction to a big boat.*