It seemed appropriate to open up a discussion on the recent news reports on the group that expects the Rapture coming this weekend. As Catholics we believe that we will not know the day or the hour that the Lord will come, but it is impossible not to think, in the back of your mind, what if the world does end tomorrow? Or what if it just ends for me? Life, and the chance to live towards ones purpose on Earth, will end for some people every day, and the end will be totally unexpected. Even when an old or very sick person dies, and the death is anticipated, there is always a shocking suddenness to the last moments.
What can we do? I propose two steps, one practical and one spiritual.
Get your worldly affairs in order. I have said this before, but I take this very seriously. Parents need to have wills, plans for custody of children, and life insurance. Even if money is tight, mothers should have life insurance. Think about it — even if you don’t have an income, if you died, how would your husband care for the children if he did not have some extra money? He would need to take some time off from working or hire someone. If you have created a will and selected someone to be the guardian of your children, you want to make sure that they will have the means to care for your children. If you have a child with special needs, you may want more life insurance to cover their long term needs. These are difficult tasks to face up to, but they are nothing short of a basic responsibility.
Get your heavenly affairs in order, too. When we pray that the Lord will deliver us from temptation, some say that means temptation from the faith at the hour of our death, which will be a time of spiritual warfare. We can ask Our Lady to be with us at that time. The chaplet of divine mercy can help us to prepare our souls, be aware of our mortality and our dependence on God’s mercy.
Forgive. The Lord has given only one condition to His mercy, and that is that we show mercy to others. In the film There be Dragons, we see how holding on to anger can damage someone, and how they cannot be whole and live a full life until they forgive. Forgiveness is for us, even more than it is for the person forgiven. There are people who have some really, really deep wounds to forgive, messed up things from childhood, parents who made grievous errors. There are people who are holding on to lots of small wounds which have combined to form a gaping hole in their souls. This may take some work and time, so have the courage to bring it up in spiritual direction, and begin the work.
I really don’t think that the world will end tomorrow, but our days are numbered and they seem to go by so quickly. It is easy to dismiss this “prophet,” but can we learn from him instead, and live each day fully for the Lord, so that whenever our end days come, we will know that we have not wasted the time that we have been given?