Patrick Novecosky writes that we must be forward-looking people, striving for heaven . . .
We all have the tendency to look back at our lives — no matter how old we are — and regret things that we’ve done or should have done. But as they say, there’s no looking back. Until someone invents a time machine, there’s no changing the past.
I’ve always been a forward-looking person. I remember a time just after finishing college where I had no job, no money and nothing on my calendar. I was miserable. But with prayer and a little hard work, I got a job, made some new friends and had some cash in my pocket.
Material things aside, being a forward-thinking or forward-looking person is deeply rooted in scripture. We’re called to keep our focus on our eternal destiny rather than things of this world. Saint Paul tells the Colossians that “if you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth…. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory” (Col 3:2-4).
I recently heard a remarkable talk by Curtis Martin, the founder of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students and a member of Legatus’ Denver Chapter. He asked us to reflect on the two most important moments of our lives — the present moment (now) and our last moment (the hour of our death). It hadn’t occurred to me that every time we pray the “Hail Mary,” we are asking for her intercession for these two critical moments.
The present is really the only moment we have any control over. The past is done and the future is yet to be written. The decisions we make now have implications for the future. They help determine our eternal destiny. They either lead us closer to Christ or further away.
But even if we choose poorly now, we still have hope in Christ. The Catholic Church has always taught that it’s important to finish well. Saint Paul says that we should run the race to the finish and fight the good fight (2 Tim 4:7). But even if we live as terrible sinners throughout our lives, our merciful Lord offers an opportunity to repent. The good thief — St. Dismas — finished well. There can be nothing more beautiful than to hear Jesus say to you, “Today you will be with me in paradise!”
With the end of the year just around the corner — and our liturgical year just beginning — let’s keep in mind these first things. My father often reminded his nine children to live each day as if it were our last. If we do, there’s no question that we will focus on consciously making choices for Christ. Then, at the moment of our death, we can expect to hear: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And that defines finishing well!
Patrick Novecosky is Legatus Magazine’s editor.