Advent and Lent seasons have always been special period in the liturgical year for me. Not that reflection and introspection are not called for during any other times of the year, but there is always Something at the end of these periods to look forward to, that made reflection particularly imperative.
As I reflect on what my sister wistful desire to be born in a richer family, I realize that I hold a view that was not apparent nor conscious to me, and that is, life will always be both a struggle and a journey, in spiritual and physical dimensions. I firmly believe these two must go together.
How'd I treat the journey if there is no longer any struggle? There's nothing wrong being rich I'm sure, yet I think it's harder for the rich to find the way back Home precisely because the lack of 'physical' (read: economic) struggle often undermines the sense that this life is but a short pilgrimage and that we are on a journey to our true patria. I'm not saying that if somehow I had been born rich, it'd be impossible for me to find God in the Church; rather, I'm trying to tell my sister that what matters is actually finding that treasure in Heaven. If one is born rich, this statement is still true and he'd have to find the Way, but if one is not born rich, one shouldn't waste his life pursuing the earthly treasure before (and if ever) seeking that which is Heavenly.
This Sunday's Gospel reading about Jesus' advice for us to "keep watch", lest we are found asleep when the Master comes, is a strong affirmation of this view I hold. As St. John of the Cross once said, suffering is a 'ladder' for us to climb to Heaven, today's homily told me that our suffering helps to keeps me 'awake' until the moment we go Home.