One of the things that many of us often struggle the most is having regrets. We often asked ourselves whether we should have, would have, or could have something better or did something that we did not get to do. Regrets often get the best out of us because it often creates resentful and negative thoughts for us. By living in regrets, we allow ourselves to live in the past “what if” scenarios and thoughts instead of accepting from life’s own lessons in order to live fully in the present moment.
The second “most popular” thing that often affects many people is hopelessness. Even though we often say that we believe in God, we cannot trust Him. We always want to be the main actors and creators of our future. We live trying to do everything and anything so that we can live our “best life” here on earth without really preparing for eternity. We pack more things on our schedule, more list items to check, more things to do, and more “adventures” to take that we have not really focused on what gives us life.
Nonetheless, we cannot change the past or make our past mistakes perfect and whole again. We can learn from them and allow them to be a positive and valuable treasure of who we are today. Therefore, let us not forget the work of grace, as St. Paul reminded us that, while we were still sinners, avoiding, running away, or did not recognize His love, Christ died for us. (cf. Romans 5:8)
Where we are today is the result of grace, the transformation by God‘s love for us. No matter how broken we were or still are, His love transformed and brought us to where we are today. To live in regrets is to deny His loving grace and forget that the same grace is still at work in us! If we do not move beyond regrets and the “what if” situations to commit, embrace, and love our present reality, we are missing out on what God has in store for us out of love, like dead bones in the valley instead of allowing His spirit to bring us back to life. (cf. Ezekiel 37:12-14)
Regarding hopelessness, we have to stop making excuses for ourselves that we are too busy for God to take us away from our set course or for His will to be at work in us. Let us be honest, that the real excuse lies in our own fears of the unknown! We are scared of death and for things to go beyond our control because we have no real hope in eternal life. We have spent so much energy and efforts to live our lives as we want it to be instead of trying to discern, grow, and mature in the vocation and life of holiness that God has in store for us. We see this hopelessness in our very avoidance to talk about eternal life and the Four Last Things, which is death, judgment, heaven or hell. In the same way, we often avoid funerals because we do not want to talk about the true trust in Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
We are scared and do not want to trust and pray for the salvation, preparation, and purgation period that is needed in each and every one of us, especially the souls who passed away. We do not want to think about the consequences of our actions and choices, especially to trust in God‘s loving justice and divine mercy. We just want to be in control, make things sound nice, have things our ways, and go on with the cheapened and egocentric version of hope that satisfies us. Too oftentimes, funerals have become human-centered, praising and “canonizing” the dead person instead of truly focusing on God. We talk much to make ourselves feel better without putting our trust in Him. It is a pity that we tend to do all things centered and focused on ourselves, with God only on the sideline or supporting role.
As Americans, if we could, I think many of us will ask that the Lord Jesus Christ continue to give us more years or raise us up again so we can continue to live as we like. Let us be honest, for too many people, the life of faith was never really about Him, it has always been about us! Too many of us want God to only be a genie, vending machine, or provider instead of who He really is.
Too many of us only think of eternal life as a forever retirement to do whatever we want; yet, we have forgotten that Heaven is the fullest unity with God, where nothing can be taken or added from the joy, peace, and love we have in Him. Eternal life in Heaven is the unitive and complete state of contemplation, praising, and living in Him. If we are not ready and forming ourselves now, how are we expect to do it for eternity in Heaven? Think about it!
It is hard to accept but we do not dictate or do whatever we want in Heaven, for we totally and completely belong to God. Therefore, the purgation period of letting go of our ego and its desire to be in control and dictate His control begin now. For many of us, it continues to intensify after we are done here on earth if we have taken the call of conversion and love seriously.
We are hopeless because we have never really hoped, to trust in God‘s faithfulness and love that He cares, wills, and wants the best for us for eternity… for life, no matter how long or short it might be on earth, is only but a moment in time in comparison to eternity, which is forever. All of the Sacred Scriptures, the Church‘s magisterial teachings, and saintly writings that make up our Deposit of Faith remind us to trust in God‘s promise so that we do not remain, live, and die for ourselves, but for Him who has loved us from the beginning of time.
We are constantly reminded that God is not our enemy who takes away our freedom to do whatever we want or simply a vending machine to give us what we desire at all costs. His love cannot be cheapened as an enabler, for He desires a loving, mature, and deepened relationship where hearts understand love, speak to one another, and give life that is much more than the present one. We do not have to get everything we like in order to have a purposeful and grace-filled life. We do not have to be worried about not living our “best life” to find contentment and happiness. We are called to seek and live in His loving peace so that, filled with His Spirit, we can understand His loving mercy and redemption.
The love of God and His Spirit give us hope, a hope that is real and sure so we can rise above deadly matters and live for eternity — beginning now! Therefore, if we are not comfortable, filled with His love, and let every part of our being be filled with His love, how can we do that for eternity? Eternal life begins now by how we choose to love Him and allow His love to form, change, transform, and give us life. In short, may we live beyond regrets and hopelessness to truly be full of Him and His life in us — now!