Begin with the End in Mind

12-03-2017From Our PastorFr. Brian Jazdzewski

As each year passes, I hope each of us becomes more aware of our spiritual journey and the invitation to deepen our relationship with Jesus. While the secular world is preparing for the turning of a calendar year, we are about a month ahead of that event. We begin a new liturgical year today. And, with that new beginning we have an opportunity to recommit ourselves to our spiritual journey as we prepare the way of the Lord during these Advent days.

Over the course of time some of you are aware of the book: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People authored by Stephen R. Covey. Covey is an American educator, author, businessman and keynote speaker. One of the phrases which make Covey popular is, "begin with the end in mind." He encourages people to have a sense of their goals, and aims. He wants people to consider what they are trying to achieve over the course of time. Time measured by a few minutes, hours, days, months or years. The concentration and focus on the goal helps people attain the end they have in mind.

Taking a leap to spiritual matters, we ought to be mindful of the end we have in mind. What are we trying to achieve, especially when that goal relates to our spiritual journey. The hope of all Christians is that we begin with the end in mind; that end being eternal union with God forever in heaven. Within that context, we consider how our lives are continually changed so that we become different in the presence of Christ. The process of change is called conversion, a deepening of our faith. Then, as our faith becomes deeper, our thoughts and actions reflect the ongoing conversion the Lord is working within our minds and hearts.

Beginning a new period in life, like the beginning of a new liturgical year, may provide opportunity for us to renew our concentration on our eternal life goal. Our phrases: Come, Lord Jesus; Prepare the Way of the Lord; O Come, O Come Immanuel; are just a sampling of the mantras we use during these Advent days. There are some people who adopt one of these phrases, or some other spiritual words, to begin each day. Phrases like these can help us remember that we are inviting our Lord more deeply into our lives and we begin each day with the end in mind: a deeper relationship with Jesus and a greater reflection of His goodness through our words and actions.

While the culture around us continues to erode at a rate, some would argue, quicker than any other point in history, how are we going to make things different personally and communally? The call to achieve the Lord's end began at our baptism. Our mission is to reply to that invitation and deepen our response to Him. Some of that work is equally challenged during these days of increasing darkness, only to be symbolized by the increasing light around the time of our Lord's birth. Immersed in culture, immersed in nature, we continually live in a way that represents the Lord's work in our lives.

While we pray, Come, Lord Jesus, we know that He began with an end in mind for us, too. His purpose to create us is for unity with Him here and in the world that is yet to come. Faithfulness to our baptismal call means conforming our will to His. His will it is that all should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. The truth is that Jesus wants unity with us, are we courageous enough to respond to His invitation and live our lives ordered in such a way that we have eternity in mind? Through your intentional Advent efforts, may you become a faithful instrument which helps Prepare the Way of the Lord.