It is the only worthy goal or end for a Christian to choose.
“To live without faith, without a heritage to defend, without battling constantly for truth, is not to live but to ‘get along’; we must never just ‘get along’”. This is a quote from a young man of faith, Pier Giorgio Frassati, who died in 1925 at the age of twenty-four. Such faith in a man of that young age is remarkable but is the kind of faith that Jesus calls each one of us to on a daily basis.
One can not live well unless one first has a goal to achieve, and end to pursue. Once the goal or end is seen, the pursuit of that goal or end must be undertaken. Perceiving a goal or end is one thing, discerning whether the goal or end we wish to pursue is good or not, is another. This requires us to use our intellects and our consciences, and then, we must train our wills to choose only the good means to pursue those good goals and ends that we desire. The goal we are called upon to pursue is to be with God forever in Paradise, and we achieve that by being obedient to the will of God in this life. It is a way of life that recognizes that there is a life beyond the “horizon” of our physical, earthly lives and that life is connected to this life we are presently living. In other words, our Christian faith is ever so much more than just an idea, it is a way of life.
The reality of death is not, or should not be a matter of fear for a Christian, rather, it is the very reason why we should live our lives with purpose and meaning in the light of Christ. Jesus died for us so that our lives here on earth could be charged with meaning and purpose in following his example. With his death and resurrection, he opened the doors to Paradise to us again. The world we live our lives in is burdened with the effects of sinful choices, ours and everyone else’s. It is full of temptations that attempt to draw us away from the narrow path that Jesus and the Law of God have put before us. The world tells us that we are our own gods and that we have to obey nothing or no one beyond our own desires. But, as Christians, we know that it is in obedience to God’s law that we find the greatest happiness and freedom. And we know that we will be judged in accord with how we have lived our lives in relation to God’s law or not.
Life is difficult because it requires us to make choices. And we are never free from the consequences of our choices, either in this life or in the next. As Christians we know that true freedom cannot be disconnected from responsibility. We know and believe that Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead at the Second Coming. Judgment implies heaven and hell. He taught us this in many places during his public ministry, such as in the parable of Lazarus and Dives in Luke 16:19-31, and again in the Judgement of the Nations parable in Matthew 25:31-45. In both cases we see that that final judgment is related to heaven or hell and is based on how we have lived our lives either selfishly, or in service to others in this world.
And this is why we can never live our lives to just “get along” with the world, or to be acceptable to the world, or to avoid the dangers of not going along with the madness of the world. We are called by Jesus himself to imitate him, that is, to live our Christian faith openly, willingly, joyfully in this world. We are to be a sign of contradiction to the world in every age and in every place. We are called by Jesus to show the world the way out of darkness and back into the light of God by the example of our lives. Our faith, this heritage, this truth given to us by God calls on us to live by it and to defend it, with our lives. It is the only worthy goal or end for a Christian to choose. To choose to just to “get along” with the times, is no life at all, and is unworthy of a disciple, a follower of Jesus Christ.