Let’s see: 24 hours in a day x 365 days in a year = 8760 hours in a year. 52 Sundays x 1.5 hours per Sunday = 78 hours per year at Mass (including travel time and the occasional “special” day like Christmas and Easter). That works out to 9-tenths of one percent. So, for those that go to church (“church-goers”), less than one percent of their time is spent doing something related to their spiritual health. For the overwhelming majority that don’t go to church, far less is spent on their own spiritual health.

The question is this: is it GOD’s intention that we spend so little time thinking of Him? Put another (more direct, more uncomfortable way): is it GOD’s intention that we think so little of Him? Well, I am not GOD, nor have I experienced anything resembling a Damascus Road, but I don’t think I will be struck by lightning if I surmise that GOD had something else in mind when He gave us free will.

If I spend one more hour per day in prayer (saying the Office, and maybe a Rosary), that adds up to one-half of one percent. If I was to guess, I would guess that the overwhelming percentage of church goers don’t do that much. The tip of the iceberg, while growing (for me), is not very impressive.

Are we here to make the most of this life, or prepare for the next life? Looking at the numbers, the numbers speak for themselves. And the numbers are not so much embarrassing as they are frightening.

Life expectancy here on this earth is something in the neighborhood of 70-80 years. Since our souls continue to live after our bodies cease to function, we are now looking at what, 80 years as a percentage of infinity? Sorry, I don’t know how to do that; my calculator won’t divide by infinity (maybe I should take it back?).

If you believe (and if you have read this far, you either do; or you are looking for something shiny) then you include in that belief that your soul – the eternal part of you – will live forever; and, hopefully that “forever” will include a fair share of time in GOD’s House of many rooms. 80 years now, and Eternity afterwards. You think your chances of winning the lottery are miniscule; what about your chances of winning Eternity by GOD’s Right Hand?

True enough: there is nothing we can do now – nothing at all – that will “win” us a seat next to the Throne of GOD. So, I guess we should do nothing at all, then? We should spend this time eating, drinking, and living like there is no tomorrow? After all: we cannot possibly influence, let alone guarantee, what fate awaits our soul on the other side of the grave. What’s the point? “What’s it all about, Alfy?” (for those old enough to remember 😉

I can’t argue with that logic. ‘Course, “logic” is man-made, and this sort of reasoning works only under the basic premise that GOD thinks the same way man does. I know for an indisputable fact that women do not think the same way men do, so I am just a tad skeptical about GOD thinking the same way any of us do. (Actually, I take great solace – I find great peace – in believing that GOD absolutely does NOT think the way I do. But, that’s just me; your mileage may differ.)

So, why are you here? What did GOD have in mind? Maybe He blew it with Adam and Eve, and the early Israelites? Don’t think so (where did that thunderstorm come from?). Do you really think GOD wants you to have the latest electronic gizmo? Ok, fine: maybe He does and I am the one that is way off base. But then, there’s that old saw: “you can’t take it with you.” Maybe things of this world are temporary for a reason (and ever changing, much to the relief of those obsessed with the pursuit of novelty). Maybe GOD is permanent and unchanging, for a reason (logic that we are presumably capable of understanding).

This all comes back to: what does GOD want from me now – what does GOD want me to do now? Burnt flesh on altars (and I don’t mean tanning beds)? Sack cloth and ashes (the grunge look comes close to that)? You don’t even have to go dust off the family Bible that has been sitting on the shelf for years and years (recording births, deaths, marriages have become passé); you can go on-line. For Catholics, the “official” version is instantly available at <usccb.org> (arguably, one of the worst translations ever; tho I do like the footnotes almost as much as my Jerusalem Bible). Since it is the internet, there are probably countless websites with versions of the Bible to suit any taste (and I do mean any taste, including those people with poor or no taste).

‘Course, in paper, or on-line, you gotta read it. Putting a copy under your pillow doesn’t work any better than it did for your physics textbook.

Looking, very briefly and superficially, at what is at stake, I offer this: 80 years here of very temporary stuff, or eternity of very permanent stuff. Why would I invest in the biggest house, the newest car, the most state-of-the-art electronic device, when I am going to spend a really long time without any of those things? Kinda like all those hours I spent learning physics, none of which I have used at all since college. Ok, I agree: learning a smidgeon of physics did enable me to earn (by the sweat of my brow) a degree in engineering. However, having a cell phone that lets me connect with people I have never met so I can “share” things of value like where they played golf last weekend, or who won the World Cup, will not enable my soul to do a damned thing in the Here After (the corollary of course being that the more effort I spend now in the things of the here and now, the more likely it will be that my soul will be damned in the Here After).

More to follow….



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