The Goal of the Christian Life and of the Church

St. John Cassian  (d. 435AD) offers us straightforward advice on how to stay focused as a Christian on what is important.  There are so many things we might imagine that each of us Christians individually are to do,  or collectively as Church are to accomplish.  Cassian reminds  us that it is easy to lose sight of the goal and then all of our spiritual activities will be aimless.  This is as true for each of us in our spiritual as it is for a parish council or an entire parish or any committee or institutional assembly.  We have to know where we are going in order to know if we are getting close to our destination or to know if we have arrived.   St. John would want to remind us that before we begin any deed to keep in mind the goal of Christians is the Kingdom of God.  Before we begin any activity or meeting, we might ask ourselves how this activity or meeting moves us toward that goal.

“In the same fashion the objective of our life is the kingdom of God, but we should carefully ask what we should aim for. If we do not look very carefully into this we will wear ourselves out in useless strivings. For those who travel without a marked road there is the toil of the journey – and no arrival at a destination. Seeing our amazement at all this, the old man resumed: ‘As we have said, the aim of our profession is the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven. But our point of reference, our objective, is a clean heart, without which it is impossible for anyone to reach our target. If we keep to this point of reference we will proceed with all assurance, as though along a carefully drawn line. If our minds wander a little from this we can come back to it again and keep our eye on it, using it as a standard by which to give ourselves sure guidance.” (Conferences, pg. 39)