Seeker of Truth

For those who sincerely seek the truth, and only the truth. All are welcome, Christians, non-Christians, pagans, atheists, agnostics. etc. We hope you will find what you seek for.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Harder The Better

Sometimes life can be so filled with many hardships. We suffer inside, the problems just keep piling up with seemingly no end in sight. Ever had one of those days?

Sure. All of us pass through trials like this from time to time. It's not equal for everyone though. Some suffer longer, others shorter.

Some go through trials that push them to the limit. Others go through seemingly less hardship in comparison. Still others don't seem to undergo any form of hardship at all (at least our defiintion of hardship).

It is said that a great general's worst enemy is the lack of adversity.

Ironic isn't it? A great general knows he has been gifted with great military skill, yet how does he prove it when there's no great enemy to go against or an against-the-odds situation?

One thing is sure though. Sufferings are a part of life. It's there for an important reason. Secondly, God's perfect justice can assure you that God only gives hardships based on your maximum limit.

One other thing is also sure: there is not one life that hasn't or will not experience suffering one way or another. This major truth is self-evident and observable. It is irrefutable.

It is as self-evident as the truth that God exists.

God will not give you something beyond your capability. This is a universal law after all.

Usually, human nature tends to follow the "path of least resistance". In general, most people tend to choose activities or tackle problems that are not hard. They avoid harder ones like the plague.

The possible causes of these are at least two: from a form of lukewarmness in our spiritual life and a from a form of hedonism.

Lukewarmness is classified as one of the seven deadly sins. It is one of the more common sins. Ever had one of those days or times when you just don't seem to have energy and you're feeling all lazy?

Yup, that's lukewarmness (also known as sloth). It is like a parasite eating our souls. Especially when you're called to do a spiritual act, this sin is even worse.

Say, you need to help somebody in need and you're feeling lazy at that time. You may or may not even do it.

And when you do help that person, your face is with a frown. There's this sadness, a lack of happiness. You feel like you're just dragging your feet.

You know you should be happy, doing something for God with cheerfulness. Not because it benefits you but out of pure love for God and others.

Now let's talk about the other reason (the first reason being lukewarmness) for people avoiding what is hard in life: hedonism.

Hedonism can be defined as a belief that pleasure is the primary purpose of life. A hedonist's actions will ultimately lead to goals promotiing pleasure or self-gratification, whether he/she is aware of it or not.

Sure, most people will not be classified as being in hedonism in a total way. However, the fact remains many of us do fall into a variant or form of hedonism from time to time.

A little hedonism arises in us sometimes. You can blame the materialistic culture we have nowadays as one of the main causes.

So many businesses promoting the good life, consumerism has been on the rise. The advertisements all overwhelm us with messages of pleasure, pleasure, pleasure.

From food to luxury vacations, expensive living, etc. we are literally bombarded with ads that do get deep into corners of our mind, our subconscious mind. So we may not be even aware of it at times.

People then take the "path of least resistance" even on a subconscious level, without being aware of their behavior.

Anything viewed as causing pain (which is viewed as the complete opposite of pleasure) is avoided. Anything that does not connote some form of pleasure is either
ignored or not given the importance due it.

Remember a time when you wake up and it's Sunday morning. Oh, it's Sunday Mass time. You literally have to drag yourself to get dfressed.

There's this sadness, this lack of energy. Deep inside, you know this is not right. One should have a lot of anticipation for the Mass, considered the highest form of prayer!

Consider what you felt instead when friends invited you to the shopping mall for a movie, a date perhaps. Amazing energy you had right? Shame on us really.

This is because the Mass is at times viewed as a form of sacrifice, and sacrifice is usually associated with suffering or pain.

Yet there is a wise saying "Anything worthwhile will always be hard."

Sacrifice is essential to achieving goals. The higher the goal, the harder the sacrifice. This is universal law.

If you love God enough, the sacrifice of the Holy Mass becomes a work of love, and therefore a work of happiness. You attend Mass with a lot of joy inside.

If you love God enough, it is impossible not to become happy in offering your sacrifice of love through the Mass.

The world will often tell you and teach you "the easier the better". Follow the easy road, the road most travelled. Don't be a radical, follow the sheep.

Yet this contradicts with what Jesus Himself reminded us: "If you wish to follow me, you must carry your own cross."

To be a Christian means to be a radical to the world's materialistic ideaologies so many times. Only by having this type of courage can we succeed. It is the type of courage that is prepared to go against the social norm if necessary, and this is not easy.

It means that for a Christian, "the harder the better", follow the road that is different - the road less travelled.


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