"Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."
End-times! Today is the last day of the present liturgical year. It has not come upon us suddenly: for a while now the readings have had an ominous note, a kind of foreboding.
It is important to celebrate the end of things, and not just the beginnings. If we don't celebrate the end, it will not fully end, and therefore there will be no fresh beginning. Say goodbye to many things today! Make it your practice, all day long. Goodbye, goodbye! You are making space for a new creation. God is going to do a new thing.
I knew a man who would defend fanatically everything he had ever identified with in any way, while all the rest he regarded as rubbish. It did not matter at all that this identification was often purely accidental, or very superficial or only imagined; once he put his ego into something, no external force could separate them. If, for example, he had visited a place where no one else in the company had been, that became the only place in the world worth visiting; if he read a book, that alone promoted it to a classic; if he had shaken some politician’s hand, that politician became the saviour of the nation. He was a man who was unable to die to himself, unable even to die to anything he ever said or did or thought. He was a man with a keen interest in the Liturgy. He celebrated, of course, this end-season every year – for more than sixty years – yet he never learned a single thing about ending, about dying to oneself and to all things. Still...he died!
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