Where Are We ?

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What a silly  question!, you might think. We are very much here, right in  our drawing room sipping our favorite coffee and watching our favorite show in  television. We are very much here.

But where are we  right now?  Look around for  a better answer. Don’t you see strange things  happening  in our country and in other countries? Haven’t you noticed the  mischievous  weather patterns that we experience? Never heard about  wars and  rumours of war? What  about the large scale revival of faith happening in the most  unexpected of  places?  Worried about the equally large scale apostasy  shaking the  foundations of Churches? Watched the  evolution of an ordinary  curable disease into  an epidemic and then  into  a pandemic? Any idea  about the   vaccine which is getting ready for  mandatory usage?  In the midst of all these things, tune your ears to the gospel message reveberating  throughout the length and breadth of  countries and continents, paving the way for fulfilling one of the most  important prophecies about our times; that the  gospel should be proclaimed to  all nations.  Now  tell me. Where  do we stand  now?

We are standing at the threshold of  a new age.  This is the time when we look forward to meet our Lord who is coming in glory. In other words, we are  living in the end times.  Please do not  accuse me of spreading conspiracy theories. This  is not my opinion, but that of many great sons and  daughters of the Church our times has produced like St Padre Pio, Blessed  Fulton J Sheen, St Pope John Paul II, St Paul VI  to name a few.

What awaits us beyond the threshold? There are  two options; first is the  New Heaven and the New Earth.  How it  will look like is narrated in the Book of Revelation. When the New Heaven and the New Earth are revealed, the first heaven and  the first  earth will  disappear.   “Then I saw  a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem coming down out  of heaven from God, prepared as a  bride adorned for her husband’ (Rev.21:1-2).  As for me, this is one of the most beautiful verses in the  entire Bible. Our  eyes should be   tuned to the  day and hour of this great event, when we  will get the  first glimpses of  what  awaits  us beyond the threshold.

But there is another option as well.  Bible says it is reserved for  certain categories of  men and women. ‘But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolators, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with  fire and sulfur, which is the second death’ (Rev. 21:8).

Of these two, which will be our share? It depends on  how we  stand at the  threshold. This is why  the Church tells us  not to lose the  grace at any time. This is why our parish priest tells us to  go for  confession as frequent as possible. This is why we need to receive the  Body and Blood of Jesus Christ every day. We are  practising virtues exactly for this purpose. We avoid vices for this very purpose.  We live a life of  charity and purity with no  other goals in mind.  Love, Joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Gala.5:22)  are the  steps of  the great ladder connecting our mortal lives with  eternal life.  Undoubtedly, it is quite difficult  for us  to  scale these steps.  Jesus knew it.  That is why  he prescribed  a remedy for it to help us. “For mortals it is  impossible, but for God all things are possible” (Mathew 19:25-26). Let us see how  God makes the impossible  possible for us.

Entering the Kingdom of Heaven is  not an easy task. We need to struggle, struggle and struggle till the very last moment of  our life. What we should remember is that  it is not a  race that can be completed on our own. Chances are that  we will miss the destination, if we  run alone. In this  journey from  the visible world to the  invisible realm, the only companion we can trust upon is  Holy Spirit.  He will make  all things possible for us, even  though they are impossible from   a human angle. 

What  challenges us in  our path to  christian perfection? What  makes this  race more arduous and  challenging? There are a number of  contributory factors. We find it  difficult to   love  our brother,   we cannot forgive our neighbour,  we  cannot control our emotions,  we  cannot  find joy in  helping others or  we  fear  we are   losing our faith. Problems  may be plenty, but the remedy is  one.  Holy Spirit  is the panacea  for all these spiritual ailments. 

Why do we  Christians fear at every step? Why do we lack the  strength to  run  the full course assigned to us? What  reason can we attribute for   us not standing  for Christ when the situation  warrants? Why are we  easily swayed by the  falsities of  this world?  What prevents us from proclaiming the  gospel to all creations?  Why are we ashamed of the gospel?  Questions are many, but the answer is one. We are yet to  receive the  anointment of Holy Spirit  in its fullness.  Holy Spirit will empower, encourage,  strengthen, guide, inflame and enlighten us. Holy Spirit will give us the courage to stand for  Christ  in the face of mounting adversities. Be courageous, ‘for God  did not give  us a spirit of  cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and  of self-discipline’ (2 Timo.1:7). Then why should we, because of sheer  cowardice,  waste  our  inheritance  of eternal life with God?

Are you feeling confused? Do not worry.  Remember what we did when  we were children  and were confused. We  used to run to our mother. Every time she lifted us up  in her arms, gave us a sweet kiss and solved our   problems in her own ways. Now  we have  our Mother in heaven. Why don’t we approach her for help?  Our confidence in her is that  she will never let  down anyone  who seeks her refuge. If she prayed with the disciples  in anticipation  of the coming down of the Holy Spirit in the upper room, she will definitely help us too in  getting the  true  anointment   of the Holy Spirit.

Remember where  we stand now. It is at the  threshold of the New Heaven and the  New  Earth, which as children of  God, is our rightful inheritance.

Mary our Mother, whom the Church salutes as ‘GATE OF HEAVEN’  is very much there to  lead us in. With this confidence, let us also pray with St Bernard of Clairvaux: 

‘Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary, that  never was it  known that  any one who fled to  thy protection, implored thy help and  sought thy intercession, was left unaided. 

Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother, to  thee I come, before thee I stand sinful and sorrowful, O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your  mercy hear and answer me. Amen. 

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