Through the span of my twenty five years, I have witnessed and participated in several exercises of futility. Let me tell you about one such exercise. Since last year we were involved in a very massive project that put us under a great amount of pressure in a small amount of time. When the finished product was released, we were all relieved, and we thought we could wash our hands of it. There was one thing however, and that was the sale of the products.
As we were preparing for the sale, to our horror we found a error in the finished product, and we had to make the corrections immediately by modifying the finished products manually. One. By. One. Naturally it took a great deal of time, in the span of days, and with many people coming to help out. We thank God for these saints in our time of need!
I came to realize that if the one person in charge of that one segment did not make that one mistake, we would not have to spend so much time, sweat and manpower in remedying it. But it was a great learning opportunity, although rather painful.
This reminded me of how my classmate and I used to copy each others assignments back in secondary school. It can be argued that many hands make light work. I offered my Chinese assignments up for grabs while I went to copy the Math ones. It was real fun. But it hardly made us learn with any understanding. Most of the time we were just preoccupied on finishing off the due assignment rather than learning the core material. Basically we had no idea what we were doing. And that made for a very, very shaky foundation for exam preparations. Most of us managed to scrape through the finals, thankfully. But today my Math skills are quite crippled and any further attempts at doing college level Calculus are frankly quite hopeless. If I didn’t copy so much homework, or at least made more effort to understand what the hell was going on, perhaps my life would be very different now. If there was more devotion and diligence, how vastly different the outcome would be for many of us. We may regret our past actions now.
In the mad rush of the moment, we may be forget about the meaning of all things. I believe the universe is made up of ordered things, and all things rest on the foundation of another. The things in our lives also follow as such. Our personalities and actions are all dependent on other things, such habits and acquired knowledge. One does not need to be Christian to know this.
Another consequence of the mad rush is the temptation to escape. Many of us in are prone to escaping. Some engage in vices, others their favorite hobbies. But no matter what we all have some bad habits or indulgences which we have recourse to. Running away does not bring us closer to our goal, but it is in fact bringing us further and further away. It may even bring us to the point where it is impossible to achieve our goals any longer.
Logically we can apply this principle to things in the Spirit. Very simply, this can be considered doing small things with great love. St Theresa of Lisieux and Mother Theresa of Calcultta carried out this philosophy very well. He who is faithful in small things will be faithful in greater things. Therefore there is an immediate implication for our final destiny. It has been often repeated that Grace is building upon nature, and is thus, brick by brick. What are we doing each day to build our future one brick at a time? Or are we often procrastinating and putting it off? If we don’t repent today and begin our penance, it will be too late tomorrow. Like it or not, we will be confronted with The Last Four Things: Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell. We must prepare to die, today. Since purification is not instantaneous, but a constant process, we must begin as soon as possible. It is not wise to wait till the eleventh hour, even in achieving worldly goals. Keeping our eye on our final destiny reminds us this all this is not pointless. In fact, it even gives meaning to our suffering. Look on the bright side. Despite the terrible things we have gone through, you are still able to read these words today. It is exactly as what the World says, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ The scars of your suffering may remain, but if you do not wallow in bitterness you would have a greater sense of empathy and compassion for the brothers around you.
With our heavenly goal in mind, how do we keep our focus? How can we do this amidst the business and tension of daily living? If we practise the habit of recollecting ourselves often throughout the day, we will get there eventually. Let us learn to renew our better resolutions now and then, for they remind of the meaning of all this. Lastly, these habits will be strengthened if coupled with our prayer life. It is important for us to question the nature and purpose of things, but even more essential to live with purpose. Let our purpose and philosophy become ‘Through Him, With Him, and In Him’ in the hope that we may one day achieve finality, not futility.