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VIGILANCE AND CHARITY The spiritual l PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 27 August 2009 07:03
VIGILANCE AND CHARITY The spiritual life requires constant vigilance. The whole Gospel is a call to us to remain awake, watchful and on guard against the enemy who never sleeps, as we await the Lord’s arrival. That decisive moment, when we have to present ourselves before God with our hands filled with the fruits of a Christian life will arrive when we least expect it. Watch, therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming, we read in the Gospel at Mass this morning (Matt 24:42-51). But know this, that if the householder had known in what pan of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. For the Christian who remains awake, the last day will not come like a thief in the night (1 Thess 5:2); there will be no panic or confusion, because each day will have been an encounter with God in the simple and everyday business of living. Saint Paul compares this watchfulness to the statio or guard-duty of a well-armed sentry who doesn’t allow himself to be taken by surprise (cf 1 Thess 5:4-11). He frequently speaks about the Christian life as one of being on guard, like a soldier on active service (cf J. Precedo, The Christian in the military terminology of Saint Paul, Rome). The Christian, too, lives frugally and is not easily surprised by the enemy because he is awake through prayer and mortification. Our Lord warns us in many ways, in different parables, against negligence, carelessness and half-hearted love. A loving heart is a vigilant heart, both over itself and over others, because God also expects us to be watchful and on guard over those who are especially united to us by the bonds of faith, of blood and of friendship. When Our Lord speaks about the coming of the thief in the night, which we read about today in the Gospel at Mass, He is teaching us not to allow ourselves to be distracted from the great enterprise of our salvation. He doesn’t want us to think of vigilance merely as something negative - to watch doesn’t mean just to stay awake for fear of what might happen if we fell asleep. To watch means being alert, on the qui vive; it means craning your neck out of the window in the hope that you will be the first to cry out, 'Look! He’s coming!’ (R. A. Knox, A Retreat for Lay People). To watch means to be looking forward with eager expectation to Our Lord’s coming. It means striving with all our strength to bring to Jesus all the people entrusted to our care, and many others besides. Thanks to the Communion of Saints we are like the sentry who raises the alarm when he spots the enemy, or the lookout who waits expectantly for his Master’s arrival in order to announce the good news to all. Our model is that prudent servant who has been placed in charge of his Master’s estate and who, while awaiting his return, spends his time doing a hundred little jobs against time; always a mom to be dusted here, a floor to be polished there, a fire to be made up in this room or that, so that the house shall look a hundred per cent welcoming when he steps inside. Each of us has got a job to do; each of us should be inspired to do it better, especially if it looks as if we hadn’t got much time to do it in (ibid, pp.45-46). To watch, to be alert, we must overcome sleepiness and lukewarmness. We do this by struggling to put into practice the things we hear in spiritual direction, by having a clearly-defined particular examination, and by being diligent in our daily general examination. With permission from Scepter UK. Short excerpt from IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD by Francis Fernandez. Available at SinagTala or Totus Bookstore 723-4326 or at www.totusbookstore. com (info@totusbookstore .com) To subscribe or unsubscribe, please email info@defensoresfide i.com. The DEFENSORES FIDEI FOUNDATION actively spreads Ecclesial Information, Catechetical Instructions and Apologetics in pursuit of making good Catholics better Catholics. Any contribution to help this apostolate is heaven-sent and now TAX-DEDUCTIBLE (in USA). Please visit us at www.defensoresfidei .com.
 

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