I make no secret that I am Roman Catholic to those who know me personally. I understand that some of you who may be reading are not Catholic or even Christian (or maybe not of any faith). But bear with me. The point of this blog post will still apply to everyone.
This, is not typically something I blog about. However, the more thought I gave to the idea of being spiritually prepared the more I realized that it belongs in the number one spot. As it is written:
"And he said to all, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?" (emphasis added)
- Luke 9:23-25
Truly, if the end goal is for us all to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven (or for non-believers a legacy that you can be proud of), then what good does it do me if I focus my attention on beans, band aids and bullets to the exclusion of all else? My wife will tell you that I am a laser focused individual. When I set a goal, then I tend to finish it in the most direct way possible. It has its advantages and disadvantages. Unfortunately, one of the disadvantages is that I have lost sight of other's needs outside of my own.
Lent started last week on Ash Wednesday. Some of my Lenten resolutions to improve my spiritual life corresponded to material concerns and constantly consuming the news via TV, Internet and blogs. What a difference almost 1 week (as of this writing) makes! I feel a lot less cluttered in the mind. It also opened up more free time to contemplate. Which leads me to the point I would like to make with this post.
Look to your family first. However, do not fall into the trap of neglecting your friends and community when it comes to their basic human needs. When you are preparing for whatever you may be most concerned with remember to put others first once your family has been taken care of. Do not fall into the trap of isolationism. I am no socialist politically, but I am most certainly concerned with social values as they affect my community. Do something with a local church to help feed the poor. Go through your closets and house and donate those items to the Goodwill or Saint Vincent de Paul. By reaching out to others you will build up your "treasure in heaven" and live a life that leaves a lasting legacy on your children and community. People of faith and people of non-faith can agree that this is a noble and worthy goal. In this way, you can be spiritually prepared knowing that you gave your best not to just yourself, family and friends, but to society.
"... 'Truly, I say to you , as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'"
- Matthew 25:40