We have to be familiar with this aspect or dimension of our earthly life. We need to develop what is known as the eschatological sense or the eschatological mind. That is to say, we need to realize that there are such things as the Last Things, namely, death, judgment, hell or heaven. It also involves the realization that there is such thing as the second coming of Christ, for which we should always be prepared.
We are somehow reminded of this dimension in the gospel when Christ was asked by some Pharisees about when the Kingdom of God is coming. (Lk 17,20-25) Christ’s response was that its coming cannot be observed since that Kingdom is among us. That is to say, its coming depends on how we are preparing ourselves for it or leading ourselves to it.
We have to remember that our earthly life is not our definitive life. It is only transitory that is meant to be some test God is giving us. It is to see if what God wants us to be, that is, to be his image and likeness, is also what we ourselves would choose to be. Every event in our life here on earth is actually a test, an occasion to make our choice. We therefore need to know how to make the right choice.
For this, we of course need to be guided by our Christian faith, which definitely is first of all God’s gift to us before it is something that we have to develop and live by. As creatures of God endowed with intelligence and will and given his grace, we are not meant to be guided only by our empirical sciences and technologies.
With our intelligence and will, plus God’s grace, we are meant and equipped to transcend the natural dimension of our humanity in order to enter into the spiritual and supernatural reality of our life. This is something that we have to understand very well so that we do not get unduly entangled with our earthly and temporal affairs, not knowing how to make use of them to lead us to the Kingdom of God.
Otherwise, we can be accused of what Christ said about what would it profit us if we gain the whole world but would lose our soul which comes from God and is meant to be with God, sharing his life and nature. (cfr. Mk 8,36)
We should therefore need to develop the eschatological sense and to be always prepared for the second coming of Christ who will establish the definitive Kingdom of God among us. Doing so is not meant to scare us, but rather to put us in a very realistic mode about our life.
There will come a time when we will die or when the world itself comes to an end. That realization should sharpen our sense of what is essential in our life and of what is the true and ultimate purpose of our life here on earth. It’s not meant to give us a gloomy picture of life and the world in general, or to put us into unnecessary worry and stress.
If we truly abide by our Christian faith, we know that we are assured of a happy ending, given God’s proven goodness and eagerness to give us mercy in case we find ourselves in the worst of conditions. We just have to be open to God’s will through our faith and trust in his providence even if we cannot fully follow it.*