One of the themes from Fr Tien and my retreat this past week has been the Ignatian command to live an ‘examined life’. In other words, as Christian people, we ought to be constantly vigilant as to how God is ‘speaking to us’ through the events and physical realities around us. In other words, it just not good enough for us, as people of faith, to let ‘life pass us by..’ Each one of us has been created for some purpose. And Ignatius would tell us, that this first purpose is to praise and worship God.
Advent has a twin focus in this regard. We are to be aware that the world as we know it is passing away. The future is being ‘gobbled up’ by the present – each day we get closer to the second coming of Jesus. What a wonderful day that will be. However, in apparent contradiction, Advent is a new beginning. There is a constant ‘newness’ in Gods creative action. Yes, the Gospel is ever new, it will not grow old and stale.
So, at the beginning of each Christian year we are encouraged to keep the end of life in view. Indeed, there is truth in the paradox, ‘In the end is my beginning’. Far from being a contradiction this interpretation of the constant march of time drives away weariness and boredom and keeps us spiritually fit. This let, lets respond its twin demands as we are both weary of the decline around us, and hopeful for the joys that lay ahead.