Once upon a time, an uncertain number of years ago, there was an important meeting of demons in Hell. In the midst of their fires and shadows, with a foul and terrible stink in the air, the top of Hell’s hierarchy was planning a long-term strategy for how to mislead humanity.
Why do they scheme against us? Because on the day when Jesus comes again to judge and rule the world with justice, the demons do not want us to experience His healing rays; they want us to burn with fire, like themselves. Since they cannot hurt God directly, they lash out by trying to make us share in their misery.
As they met, brainstorming for ideas, one demon suggested, “How about we try telling them that there is no such thing as evil?” The chairman said, “You stupid worm, you pathetic disgrace, the humans will never believe that! Do you think that we can pit a person against a person, a nation against a nation, or a soul against our Enemy above, without the humans noticing the sadnesses, sufferings, impurities, jealousies, envies, rivalries, resentments, hatreds, injustices, cruelties, or murders that follow? They see evidence of evil on the front page of every newspaper and in every gossip’s tale! Humans are reminded that something’s wrong with their world whenever their alarm clocks ring, whenever their toes get stubbed, or whenever someone they know dies! You’ll have to do better than that!”
A little while later, another demon suggested, “What if we told them that there is no such thing as goodness?” The chairman said, “You worthless slime, you ugly idiot, the humans will never believe that! Our Enemy above has littered their world with beauties and gifts to many to count, and everything that the humans do is in the pursuit of what they think is good! They have this irresistible desire to be happy that our Enemy has built into them! Tell me, how would we tempt them to sin without promising them something which attracts them, something which is at least seemingly good? Is there anyone here who is not a useless fool?”
But then, one of the chairman’s most cunning underlings suggested another approach, an approach which was immediately welcomed by the others with cruel smiles and restrained applause (for a demon resists praising anyone but himself.) This insightful demon said, “Let us convince the humans… that there’s no need to hurry.”
In every generation, there have been Christians who belived that their generation would be the last. But personally, I don’t expect the second coming of Jesus Christ to happen in the very near future for the simple fact that it remains legal to be a Christian throughout North and South America. There are great evils in our world, even within our own country, but the final attack of evil against Christ’s Church in the last days should be far worse than this. [For more from the Catechism of the Catholic Church on “The Church’s Ultimate Trial,” see CCC 675-677 ]
I do not expect Christ to come in the immediate future to us, but we must always be preparing ourselves to be ready to go to Him, for we never know when we will die. Never be anxious and never be afraid, but prepare yourself for what is certainly coming. Instead of being busybodies, distracted by many unimportant things, let’s get busy making the most important things the most important things.
If you knew for a fact that you were going to die six months from today how would you begin to live your life differently? Would you pray more each day? Would you go to confession and to Mass more often? Would you work harder at doing good works? Would you crush your lingering vices? Would you forgive your enemies? Would you show more love to the people in your daily life?
Seriously thinking about what you would you do different if you knew you were going to die will give you a good place to start in living more intentionally for Christ, with your eternal goal in mind. Do not believe the demon’s whispered lie that ‘there is no need to hurry,’ for your last day is closer than it was yesterday, and it may be much closer than you think.