Our pastor began his homily yesterday with an anecdote from the life of St. Dominic Savio (a good saint for boys). While playing soccer as a boy, he and the other boys discussed what they would do if “The End” were rapidly approaching. One boy said he would hurry to find a priest and confess his sins. Another said he would run home and apologize to his mother for his misdeeds. St. Dominic said he would continue to play soccer.
His point was that he was doing what God wanted him to do all the time. Not only did he not have sins to confess or wrongs for which to atone, his life was in balance. At every minute of every day, he was doing what he ought to be doing.
Advent is a time when the readings from the Bible seem apocalyptic. Do not be caught unaware, we are warned. For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. We need to be watchful – not praying and fretting every minute. God does not expect us to spend all day on our knees. He does expect us to do our jobs and to follow the inspiration of His Spirit all the time. Our watchfulness is to be directed, not at outward signs seeing the Second Coming behind every earthquake or natural disaster, but rather at our own actions.
Are we doing what we ought to be doing all the time?
If I feel that I would need to rush off to confession if I knew I would die today, then I’m either sinning too much, or not going to confession often enough. If I feel that I would want to make things right with someone else before I died, then I need to do it now, and stop holding grudges or stop withholding my apologies. If I feel that I would need to get on my knees and pray, then I have not made a proper habit of regular prayer time and my thoughts in between those of formal prayer are not directed enough Heavenward.
I think I have much room for improvement.