"On a certain occasion," says a priest friend of mine, "many years ago I was spending a short period of military practice in the highest town of Navarre. We used to do this practice during a break in our studies. I remember that when I was in that little town called Abaurrea, a brand new ensign showed up there. He presented himself to the chief so that he could tell him which unit he was going to. He came back saying that the chief had told him that he had to go to Jaurrieta and that, as if without giving him any importance, he had insinuated that he had to take a horse and leave on it (...). The new man was very restless and the whole dinner he was talking about the horse, asking questions, asking for some practical advice. Then, one of the people there said:
"-You what you have to do is to ride serenely, calmly and that the horse does not realize that it is the first time you ride. This is the decisive thing (...).
"The next day, in the morning, very early, they were at the door, waiting for the newly commissioned officer, a soldier with his horse and with another mount to carry the suitcase, The ensign mounted the horse and, apparently, the horse realized on the spot that it was the first time he was riding, because, without further ado, he launched into a kind of small trot, with a look of alarm on the ensign's face. The horse stopped when it wanted to, and started to eat on one of the sides of the road... even though the ensign was pulling on the reins uselessly. When the horse thought it appropriate, he started walking along the road again and, from time to time, he stopped; then he trotted a little, while the rider looked to the sides, with a frightened face. In this situation a team of engineers were coming in the opposite direction, rolling up a cable for a power line. And then the cable men asked him:
"-You, where are you going?" And the rider said with great truth and with a truly realistic philosophy:
"-Me? I was going to Jaurrieta; what I don't know is where this horse is going? (...).
"Perhaps even if we were asked out of the blue: "Where are you going?", we could say: "Me, I was going to love, I was going to truth, I was going to joy; but I don't know where life is taking me"".
How wonderful it would be - if someone were to ask us, "Where are you going?" - to be able to say: I am going to God, with work, with the difficulties of life, with sickness perhaps!... this is the goal, where the goods of the earth, the profession,... everything! What a pity if we had made an absolute good out of what should only be a means! Let us examine today at the end of our prayer whether profession is a means to find God, whether goods, whatever they may be, help us to become better....
Jesus Christ continually teaches us that the object of Christian hope is not earthly goods, which rust and moth corrode and thieves dig up and steal, but the treasures of the incorruptible inheritance. Christ himself is our only hope. Nothing else can fill our hearts. And next to Him, we will find all the promised goods, which have no end. The material means themselves can be the object of the virtue of hope to the extent that they serve to attain the human end and the supernatural end of man. They are just that: means. Let us not turn them into ends.
Our Lady, our Hope, will help us to set our hearts on the goods that last, in Christ, if we turn to her with confidence. Sancta Maria, Spes nostra, ora pro nobis.