"Whoever wishes to be My follower must deny his very self." —Luke 9:23
In a cartoon, the patient said to the psychiatrist: "Do I have to do my own thing? Do I have to do what feels good?" Living for self and pleasure gets old.
We like this kind of life at first, but after a while we suspect we're destroying ourselves and wasting our lives. Jesus said as much: "Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. What profit does he show who gains the whole world and destroys himself in the process?" (Lk 9:24-25)
Those who live to do their own thing are to be pitied. They have traded their birthright for trifles (see Gn 25:31ff), and have given up life and love for a shadow of human existence. The only way to escape slavery to self, the emptiness of pleasure-seeking, and the boredom of doing your own thing is to love Jesus with all your heart.
Only Christ's love makes life worth living, gives meaning to everyday existence, and provides sure hope for the future. What joy there is in not being enslaved to self! What freedom is to be found in not reducing life to mere pleasure-seeking! What sweetness in carrying the daily cross, for Jesus' yoke is easy and His burden light! (Mt 11:30)
Prayer: Father, I accept the power of the cross and reject the futility of doing my own thing.
Promise: "I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the Lord, your God, heeding His voice, and holding fast to Him." —Dt 30:19-20
Praise: Sts. Cyril and Methodius opened up several nationalities to the good news with their missionary zeal.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape on Developing a Deep Personal Relationship with Jesus on audio AV 52-1 or video V-52.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, September 13, 2012
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