Tuesday, January 4, 2011

For What?

“What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” Mark 8: 36

We work hard don’t we? Gone are the days of the 9-5 jobs. It seems as if the onslaught of technology that tempts to make our lives simpler has only succeeded in making us capable of doing more and more and more—leaving us more stressed and tired than in the first place. Think about it, years ago, unless you were a doctor, for the most part work could be left at work. Now everyone has a “pager” with cell phones, blackberries and droids running our lives. And we are expected to be on call at all times and be able to connect with work no matter where we are or what we are doing. Even young people have less time than before with school, homework, activities, sports, part-time jobs, etc.

So is this meditation an attack on technology? Or working hard? No. But when we examine our busy lives it begs the question: for what? What are we hoping to achieve? Because from where I’m sitting we aren’t achieving much; we’re like gerbils on a wheel, or flying in an airplane that is going really fast, but with no destination. I think we are trying to achieve peace through prosperity, security through wealth, self-worth through promotions and happiness through the acquisition of things. Or we’re simply trying to just have enough money to entertain ourselves constantly.

But at what cost? Are our marriages better? Do parents and children (especially teens) get along better with each other? Are we less stressed? Are we more peaceful, secure, happy? Do we like ourselves more? I think for many people the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “no”. We are actually more stressed, feel less secure, are sadder and hate ourselves more and more. Why?

Because we are pursuing things that will never satisfy us while neglecting that which will. We pursue these things because we often get immediate satisfaction. But is what we might gain in the short-term worth the stress in life or worth the potential losses in the long-term (think heaven here)? I think it is time for us to start investing more in things that will bring peace and joy in our lives now, while leading us closer to the ultimate goal of heaven after this life. We were made for the eternal. Why do we spend so much time neglecting what we were created for? We need less time with the iPhone and more time with Scripture. We need less time with the HDTV and more time with the Catechism. We need less time with the computer and more time in prayer. We need less time at work and more time with our spouses. We need less time in the gym and more time with our kids (or parents)! Let’s invest in people, not things. Let’s invest in others, not ourselves. Let’s invest in God, not in things that are passing.

The great Christian author C.S. Lewis once wrote something along the lines that depending on where we end up in eternity (either heaven or hell) we will be able to look back and see that our lives were already living in one or the other before we died based on what was important to us, how we acted, what we desired, etc. So, for what are living—death or life? You decide.

Dear Jesus, help me to stop trying to gain this whole world and work more on my soul. Give me the grace to accept Your love and to use it to bring others to You. I want to invest in the eternal and live my life for You. Amen.  

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