We all have goals; often several levels of achievement. Some may be to map our success for our career. Others can be more like a “bucket list” of places we want to go or activities we want to try. But do we have a goal for our faith?
“Although you have never seen him, you love him, and without seeing you now believe in him, and with glory because you are achieving faith’s goal, your salvation.” (1 Peter 1:8-9). This passage struck me when I read it prior to Mass last Sunday. I think because I always considered my faith a journey and the goal as heaven; I realize will not reach my goal until after my death. In my simple mind, I think of it as rather like a piggy bank, a good deed is like a quarter that goes into the bank. We don’t see the money, but we know it’s there. When the bank is filled (i.e. we die), we will be able to count out how much faith we had during our lifetime.
But Peter’s letter describes it as something active with an almost tangible quality. Rather than something far away, our salvation can be experienced in the here and now. Loving the Triune God and believing in Jesus’ Passion, Death and Resurrection makes us think and act differently. In being compassionate towards our neighbors and family, we bring a little bit of heaven to earth. In those moments when we experience the true peace and joy of self-giving, perhaps that’s when we are experiencing a taste of heaven. While we would like to savor those moments and make them last as long as possible, they are just a foretaste of what is to come.
So with hope and trust that God will grant us eternal heaven someday, let’s begin to anticipate that wonderful time by bringing a bit of heavenly love to all we encounter, by refining our thinking and by giving praise and thanksgiving to God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. After all, our earthly goals once achieved may be forgotten, but the salvation of our soul will continue beyond our body’s journey on this planet.