" 'Master, Master!' they cried. 'Open the door for us.' But He answered, 'I tell you, I do not know you.' " -Matthew 25:12
During our life on earth, we can prepare for hell by living a "hell on earth." We simply live a lifestyle we know would be displeasing to Jesus. Since we presume He's not present, what's to stop us from living as we please? Before long, we've run the risk of sliding so far away from Jesus that even if we did recognize His presence, we might not be able to change our lifestyle. We're far enough down the road to hell, an eternal future without the presence of Jesus (Catechism, 1033, 1035), that the Good News is unacceptable to us (see 1 Cor 1:18).
Alternatively, we can prepare for heaven by living a "heaven on earth," that is, a life lived constantly in the presence of Jesus. Every breath we take, each step we make, every moment we act in constant awareness that the Master is present. We act differently because we know He is present. We long for His presence more than the deer longs for running waters (Ps 42:2). Our hearts are restless until they rest in His presence (Catechism, 30). We change our lifestyle and do whatever it takes to have more time in His presence. Eucharistic adoration, frequent Mass, service to the suffering (Mt 25:35ff), Scripture reading, prayer, praise (Ps 22:3, JB), working for justice are ways to remain in the Master's presence and thereby keep our lamps full of the oil of the Spirit.
Our life on earth and eternal future are centered around the presence of Jesus. "Why delay, then?" (Acts 22:16). Live "resolutely in the presence of the Lord," and continue "to grow strong" (2 Chr 27:6).
Master, I would rather suffer deprivation and enjoy Your presence than have luxury without You (see Ps 84:11).
Posted by Ed Sousa, Sr. at 2:39 PM