Wednesday, February 20, 2013
(Published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 27 January 2014)
“WHAT HAPPENS after we close our eyes for the last time?”
For an atheist, the answer’s easy. We won’t ever open our eyes again.
There’s no After Life: no joyous reward for the good, no perpetual damnation for the evil. Heaven and hell are what we make out of this life. So live each day as if it were the last.
For zealous Christians, the answer’s easy, too. They’ll awake in Heaven and to a life of eternal bliss in the presence of Jesus Christ. And zealous Christians know Hell is the only destination for the damned.
For indifferent Christians, however, there doesn't seem to be a definite answer. There’s only the frantic hope that Heaven will be there when they re-awaken.
For religious non-Christians, the answer to this question probably depends on the intensity of their love for God as they perceive Him.
Working towards heaven or an eternal reward is a goal that gives meaning to the lives of many. That’s a good thing.
It’s only logical that good people seek a reward for lives well lived in an After Life of eternal joy.
But those who want heaven to be there when they re-open their eyes fear that one sin might deprive them of this just reward.
This concern need not turn into needless panic. The habit of goodness sears itself into one’s soul and unconsciously prepares one for the Final Second.
Your Final Thoughts are vital when your life flashes before your eyes and the Light begins to call you. If you've built a life of goodness, your Final Thoughts will reflect the person you really are.
And when your terrified eyes no longer see this world, your Final Thoughts will lead you towards your Destination.
The Last Thing we remember on earth will be the First Thing we see in Heaven.
At the Final Second, the memories of goodness done will flood our consciousness and serve as the key that unlocks the door to an eternal reward.
The good we've done will steel us into accepting Death as the rightful extension of this life. And the Door to our Eternal Reward.
Goodness is the key.
God will certainly reward the Fervent Few who remain true to His Book. But this fervor is improbable for the wretched legions whose lives are consumed by the terrible struggle against poverty.
What is left to us is the innate Goodness that is God’s mirror in every person. So that even if physically and mentally ruined, a person can hold up this mirror of Goodness to see himself as God sees him: a Creation to be saved—always.