[COLUMN] Stay awake!

Here we are at the start of the Advent season! So naturally, as we celebrate this season, we think of Christmas.

The Church, however, reminds us not to focus our minds yet on the celebration of Christmas, particularly its material aspects, but on the four weeks of spiritual preparation.

Advent is a period of waiting, reflecting, musing, and deepening our thoughts on how we can live meaningfully, joyfully, faithfully, and generously. Therefore, we need to observe it as a heightened time of grace by which we can find peace, wholeness, and joy.

And so, it should involve beautiful moments of prayer, silence, attentiveness, presence, and patience. To achieve this, we must be intentional about curving time for prayer, study, and meditation and use various ways, even resources from social media.

Social media like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have postings that help us reflect on the meaning and value of life.

Take, for example, this posting on Facebook by The Meaning of Life:

“One day, we all will depart on a journey free of cost.

Don’t worry about the reservation; it is confirmed.

The flight is always on time.

Our good deeds will be our luggage.

Humanity will be our passport.

Love will be our visa.

Make sure we do our best to travel to heaven in business class.”

Another social media posting is on Steve Jobs’s last words before he died from pancreatic cancer:

“At this moment, lying on my bed and recalling my life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in have paled and become meaningless in the face of my death.

You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you, but you cannot have someone bear your sickness for you. Material things lost can be found or replaced. But there is one thing that can never be found when it’s lost—Life. Whichever stage in life you’re in right now, with time, you will face the day when the curtain falls.

Treasure love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends. Treat yourself well and cherish others.

As we grow older, and hopefully wiser, we realize that a $3000 or a $30 watch both tell the same time. You will realize that your true inner happiness does not come from the material things of this world. Whether you fly first class or economy, if the plane goes down—you go down with it.

Don’t educate your children to be rich. Educate them to be happy.

Eat your food as your medicine, otherwise, you have to eat medicine as your food.

The One who loves you will never leave you for another because, even if there are 100 reasons to give up, he or she will find a reason to hold on.

There is a big difference between a human being and being human. Only a few really understand it. You are loved when you are born. You will be loved when you die. In between, you have to manage.

The six best doctors in the world are sunlight, rest, exercise, diet, self-confidence, and friends. Maintain them in all stages and enjoy a healthy life.”

Let’s heed Advent’s call for more meaningful prayers, reflections, and human encounters. In this way, we can prepare for Christmas and Christ’s Second Coming and our personal departures from this world to eternal life with God.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Fr. Rodel “Odey” Balagtas is the pastor of Incarnation Church in Glendale, California.


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