All That Lasts Forever

Praying for the Holy Souls
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A short reflection this Monday:

According to our best scientists, the universe will end.

Entropy is a real thing where all of the energy will eventually be used up. The cosmos will then either fade away like the dying embers of a late-night campfire. Or the universe will collapse in on itself in a final gravitational crunch. Of course by then, the Earth will be long gone. Eons before the universe runs out of fuel, our sun will grow into an old red giant that will consume our planet before it too will eventually be destroyed.

Perspective.

Sometimes in life we need a little perspective.

Today, think about things that are important to you. They could be the worries of the day, the project that needs to be finished, that job that is still not done. Or it could our larger life goals. They could be the ways that we hope to leave our mark on this world. There is a strong urge in most of us to have something on this Earth that will be around for generations to come. Some of us want build the tallest building. Some of us want to write the great novel. Others seek after the great scientific discovers. And others still seek power either in politics or the world in general.

And yet all this is going away.

Every work of art, every building, every invention, every nation, every part of our physical world will become cosmic ash. And even if we slip the surly bonds of Earth and colonize other planets, there is nowhere to escape from the final entropy that will consume all physical things. Soon or later, every physical thing dies.

So do we give in to despair? Of course not. The reason is because we do encounter things that will last beyond the destruction of our world: each other.

CS Lewis once wrote, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously – no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.” (The Weight of Glory)

If we measure a thing’s value by how long it lasts, then the most valuable thing in the world is a human soul. Twenty billion years from now, the Earth will be no more. But Seventeen trillion years from now we will be living our eternal existence. All of the people we encounter each day: they are the ones who will last. And while we may be the ones to build the tallest building or the greatest novel, the greatest art we can engage in is in the shaping of the human soul. It is something we already do, whether we want to or not. The way we live affects the souls of the people around us.

And Lewis made it very clear that we have one of two destinies: “immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” That is who we are all becoming, one or the other.

When you are in a hurry today to finish you pursuits, do you do so at the expense of others? Do you accomplish your tasks while ignoring the people in your life? In the end, all of it is rubbish if it isn’t rooted in cultivating these immortal works of art. Because when we do that, we are living out God’s calling for us. He is the great artist and we are His art. As the Scripture says in Jeremiah 18, He is the potter and we are the clay. He is cultivating us to grow in His eternal garden of delights, a new Eden forever.

Perspective.

Look today in your life to what truly lasts. If we build our lives on the things that truly last forever, then we will truly be leaving an eternal mark.

Copyright 2019, WL Grayson

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W.L. Grayson

W.L. Grayson

I am a devoutly Catholic theology teacher who loves a popular culture that often, quite frankly, hates me. I grew up absorbing every movie, TV show, comic book, science fiction novel, etc. I could find. As of today I’ve watched over 2100 movies and tv shows. They take up a huge part of my life. I don’t know that this is a good thing, but it has given me a common vocabulary to draw from in order to illustrate whatever theological point I make in class. I’ve used American Pie the song to explain the Book of Revelation (I’ll post on this some time later) and American Pie the movie to help explain Eucharist (don’t ask). The point is that the popular culture is popular for a reason. It is woven into the fabric of our lives and imaginations, for good or ill. In this blog I will attempt to bring together the things of heaven with the things of earth. Of course this goal may be too lofty for someone like me.

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