WE need to develop a sense of the end. This is unavoidable and indispensable. Even in our ordinary affairs, we take it for granted that we ought to have some idea of the end or purpose in mind before we move.
When we travel, for example, we first identify the destination, and then from there, prepare ourselves accordingly—what to bring, how to dress, etc. A student, reviewing for an exam, would try to figure out the likely topics that would come out, and from there would start to organize his study.
I remember that in the world of business, a po-pular theory was that of Management By Objective (MBO) that precisely highlights the importance of the sense of the end.
The end gives us a global picture and sheds light on the present. It guides us. It gives us a sense of confidence and security. It reassures us that we are on the right track, that we are doing well.
The sense of the end motivates us to make plans always, to be thoughtful and anticipative of things. It teaches us also a sense of order and priority. It motivates us to set goals, make schedules and use time prudently. Ultimately, it helps us distinguish between the essentials and the non-essentials in our life.
A person who does not have a sense of the end is obviously an anomaly. He tends to be lazy and prone to his personal weaknesses, to drift off aimlessly and lose control of his life. Such person is usually called a bum, a tramp or a vagrant.
Since we all somehow pass through this stage, let’s hope that the phase be as short as possible, and that our reaction to it should produce the opposite effect of precisely taking the duty to develop this sense of the end more seriously.
There, of course, are some complicated people who philosophize too much by saying that we can never know the end, and so, they ask how can we develop a sense of the end? This kind of thinking is pure sophistry that can easily be dumped by the mere use of common sense.
It’s true that we may never know everything about the end, but it’s not true that we cannot know enough about the end of anything. That’s why we can only talk about a sense of the end, since it is a dynamic affair that has known and unknown, absolute and relative, constant and changing elements involved.
We are not dealing with mere mathematics and mechanical things alone in this life. There are spiritual and other intangible things involved that necessarily would require us to be continuously open to anything, remaining discerning, flexible and focused.
And so, what we instinctively do in our daily ordinary affairs, we should also do, and, in fact, do as best as we can, in the ultimate dimensions of our life. Here we have to be guided by our core beliefs that should penetrate beyond the material, temporal, and worldly aspects into the realm of the spiritual, eternal, and supernatural.
In this regard, for those of us who are Christian believers, the model to follow is Christ. From childhood, He already knew what his whole earthly life was all about. He never deviated from that path: “I do nothing of myself, but as the Father has taught me.” (Jn 8,28)
It would be good that as early as possible, we can also have the same kind of knowing what our whole life here on earth is all about, guided by our faith, and the example of Christ.
It is this faith, and not just some earthly science or art that assures us of eternal life and joy. We have to be wary when our sense of the end is ruled only by temporal goals.
To be sure, to have that Christian mindset does not lead us to develop rigid thinking and ways, to bigotry, intolerance and triumphalism, as some quarters have accused Christian believers even up to now.
On the contrary, if we truly follow Christ, we would have a very open mind. We would be flexible and adaptable. We can accept anything and would know how to handle them. Nothing can scandalize us—that is, if we are truly living the life of Christ.
The death of Christ on the Cross precisely signifies His openness to everything in our earthly life. And His resurrection means His victory over any form of sin and evil, including death.
Let’s forge a sense of the end that truly corresponds to our nature and dignity