By JENNIFER BURGIN
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
A few weeks ago I received an unexpected phone call from my grandfather. He voiced concern because he had not yet received my monthly loan payment. I looked at my online checking account, noticing the check cleared. Upon further investigation, I discovered the check had been endorsed by someone other than my grandfather! It was a very bad forgery. To this day we don't know if the check was stolen by someone in the Post Office or someone who received the wrong mail in his mailbox. Sending checks through the mail for years, this was the first time something like this has happened. Fortunately, within a short time the bank reimbursed the stolen funds. Still I will always wonder, "How did this happen? How can a similar incident be prevented in the future?"
We must always be prepared. We never know when something will strike us out of the norm. A severe thunderstorm may leave us out of electricity for days. A sudden illness may leave us out of work for weeks. Our houses may be flooded or damaged by a fire leaving us homeless for months while rebuilding is underway......
At an hour we do not expect, the Lord may decide to take us from this earth. Our death is determined, but we don't know exactly the number of years we have. It may be a short span, like when we lose a child, or a great number of years like those lived by a centenarian.
How can we better prepare ourselves for when "life happens"? How can we better prepare ourselves for when our time is up on earth? How can we better prepare ourselves for when the Son of Man returns?
Pray Not baby, wimpy, superficial prayers but heartfelt prayers from the inner soul! Prayer unites us with God in ways that adore him, thank him, and honor him. Amazing how when we pray we begin to discover ways we can help ourselves as well as others. Prayer "prepares" us for the future because we become more aware of our surroundings. We may "smell" when things aren't going right. Perhaps temptation is wrapping its arms around us. But, a healthy prayer life can stop sin dead in its tracks. Pray the rosary. Pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Pray during the work commute. When bored with nothing to do, turn to Jesus in prayer!
Frequent Confession and Communion A second powerful way of preparing our soul for the Kingdom of Heaven, and our minds for life's challenges, is through frequent confession and Holy Communion. Personally, I try to go to confession on a monthly basis. If I don't have any mortal sins, I have no problems confessing venial sins I battle daily. When it comes to Holy Communion, I find daily reception is the best even though it does not always work in my busy schedule. If I can make one weekday mass and then every Sunday mass I'm set. I've discovered that confession and communion give me the strength in preparation for what life sends my way. I've had a host of annoyances happen this past month (i.e. the stolen check) but don't think of them in an over-dramatic way. I know God is aware of the situations and will provide relief in due course time.
Humbly Serve Others When we make an effort to help others, we better prepare ourselves to share eternity with Jesus in heaven. He loves when we look after the widow and the orphan. He smiles when we reach out to help the poor, the suffering and the neglected. As we emulate Christ in His Way, Truth and Light, our souls benefit from the outpouring of graces. Giving to others takes us out of ourselves. Serving others, without expecting anything in return, demonstrates our authentic witness as a disciple of Christ. We wish for people we serve to make it into heaven along with us.
Take a moment to reflect on how well-prepared you are when life happens. Do you take it in stride with God by your side, or do you complain and fret not knowing what to do? Preparation of the mind, heart and soul isn't a difficult task. It takes discipline and a change of thinking. When we place God front center in our lives, we better prepare our souls for Heaven.
“Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
― Saint Pope John Paul II, Pray for Us!