By Rev. Junchol Lee
We use a calendar that has 12 months and 365 days in it. As it nears December 31st, we feel as though something is getting close to an end, and yet on January 1st it feels like a new beginning. Our life is composed of many endings and beginnings. We may live one life, but within this one life we have many different journeys.
(References: Habakkuk 3:17)
440. However, thinking about going to heaven, and good needing to be done for this reason, is not regarding reward as one's aim and attributing merit to deeds, for so too do those think who love the neighbour as themselves, and God above all things. For they think this, trusting in the Lord's words, that their reward will be great in the heavens (Matthew 5:11-12; 6:1; 10:41-42; Luke 6:23, 35; 14:12-14; John 4:36); that those who have done good deeds will possess as their inheritance the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34); and that each person will be repaid according to his deeds (Matthew 16:27; John 5:29; Revelation 14:13; 20:12-13; Jeremiah 25:14; 32:19; Hosea 4:9; Zechariah 1:6; and elsewhere). These people do not trust in getting a reward by their merit, but believe it is promised them by grace. Their reward is the pleasure of doing good to the neighbour. The angels in heaven enjoy this pleasure, and it is a spiritual pleasure, which is everlasting and immeasurably exceeds any natural pleasure, Those who enjoy that pleasure are unwilling to listen to talk of merit, for they like to act, and that is what makes them feel pleased. They are saddened if they think that their actions are done for the sake of being repaid. They are like those who do good to their friends for friendship's sake, to their brother for brotherhood's sake, to their wife and children for their wife's and children's sakes, to their country for their country's sake, so that they act from friendship and love. When they do a kindness, they also say and convince others that it is not for themselves but for others.