IT’S the Advent Season again, the proximate preparation for the birth of Christ on Christmas Day. It also starts another liturgical year when we are made to go through the different stages of the life of Christ and of the whole economy of salvation that is designed by God.

With this Advent Season, we are somehow reminded of the need for vigilance and focus that is based on the real and ultimate purpose of our life here on earth. Of course, we are reminded also to be clear about the over-all picture of our life here with the view of avoiding getting trapped in our temporal affairs while ignoring the spiritual and supernatural goal of our life.

Thus, in the gospel of the First Sunday of Advent, Christ told his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” (Mk 13,33) We should take these words of Christ seriously and sharpen our vigilance skills and proper focus in life, being truly professional in managing our earthly sojourn.

This, in fact, is the most serious business we have in this life. We should see to it that everything that we do and can happen to us in this life should be referred to the ultimate purpose of our life.

And given the fact that the world is fast changing, coming up with new challenges and issues, we have to upgrade our vigilance skills. Remember Christ telling his disciples: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life…Be vigilant at all times.” (Lk 21,34.36)

Times are constantly changing. Although we are told that nothing is new under the sun, still we cannot deny that there will always be new developments that will require us to upgrade our skills in handling them, knowing how to take advantage of the benefits they give and to avoid the dangers they also pose.

Truth is the many developments today, while giving us a lot of advantages and conveniences, can also easily lead us to bad things. They can foster complacency, self-indulgence, vanity, pride, greed, envy, discord, etc. They can turn us into materialistic monsters, totally insensitive to the spiritual and supernatural realities of our life and to God himself.

We should never underestimate the tricks and snares of the devil, the false allurements of the world, and the dynamic of our weakened and wounded flesh. These enemies of our soul will constantly make new guises to mislead and tempt us. To upgrade our vigilance skills is not a matter of paranoia. It is to be realistic. It is to be effectively prudent.

We should not be naïve to think that with our current skills at spiritual and moral vigilance, we are already okay. We have to sharpen our sense of purpose in life, seeing to it that its general goal is being consistently lived and reinforced in the many subsidiary purposes we have during the year, month, week, day, and even hour.

With how things are now, we cannot simply rely on a generic sense of purpose. We have to learn how to be vigilant in all circumstances and situations in life, especially when we are tired, troubled, or when we are thrilled and excited.

This should be done without getting nervous or unduly tense. Yes, there should be alertness always, as is proper to any watchful person, but it should be an alertness that is compatible with naturalness, one that goes together with peace and joy, knowing that in the end, God is always in control of everything.