Christ, the Eschaton, and Watchful Anticipation

Last Thursday our curial offices had our annual Advent day of prayer and reflection. This year our day was facilitated by our diocesan director for marriage and family life, Deacon Patrick O’Toole.

As one would expect, Deacon O’Toole talked about anticipating both the celebration of Christ’s nativity as well as his Second Coming. He challenged us to be prepared at all times — to live our lives with a sense of watchful anticipation, for “of that day and hour no one knoweth, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone.” (Matthew 24:36) When Christ returns we must be prepared and not be too focused on our own designs, or else we may be passed by.

This is good advice — not just in preparation for the eschaton, but for life in general! The deacon’s admonition got me wondering how many opportunities I’ve missed because I was too intent on my own schemes — how many  opportunities  to evangelize or help someone in need  escaped  my notice because I couldn’t be bothered to put aside my own ideas and ambitions? If I can’t be prepared for these intrusions, how will I be prepared for Christ’s triumphant return?

As we approach the new year I am going to recommit myself to “watchful anticipation” and awareness that opportunities are always right around the corner. Hopefully, by practicing this in everyday life, I’ll be ready to give an accounting when Christ returns and asks me how I’ve been spending my time!