The Happy Priest on Lent, Happiness and the Call to Selfless Love
The world owes everything to such great people who spend themselves daily for God and for others. If we were to take things easy and do nothing in life, we might exist longer, but we would never know how to live. A famous Christian evangelist once said, "It is better to burn out than to rust out."
Moreover, it is true that those people who give themselves to God and to others unconditionally remain young and vibrant. They go on through life filled with enthusiasm because they are in love with life. They are imbued with a cause that is greater than themselves.
I am amazed at times when I see people who look much older, but in fact are much younger than I am. They seem to live purposeless lives, to vegetate, to do nothing with the talents that God has given to them. I cannot live my life in such a way. I prefer to drag my tired body through life and be of service to God and to others, rather than live an aimless and dreary existence.
"Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life."
I am reminded of a story about an elderly carpenter who was ready to retire. He told his boss of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could survive.
The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.
When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house," he said, "my gift to you."
What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built so poorly.
Always strive to be more and do more. With service comes greatness. If you are married, set your children on this path. If you are a priest or a religious, save more souls. Never think of yourself. "I" and "me" must always be replaced with "we" and "us." This is what makes us truly happy: to die to self unconditionally so that Jesus may live in us. The grain of wheat must fall to the ground and die.
How can this essential dimension of Christianity either begin or continue to flourish in your life? The answer is this: to center your life on the Eucharist. Bread comes from the crushed wheat that is ground to become flour. Wine comes from the grapes that are crushed together and the seeds are removed. The bread and the wine that becomes Jesus for us have gone through death and destruction. But, it is through death and destruction that we have the presence of eternal life in the tabernacle of every Catholic Church throughout the world.
Acknowledgements: www.inspirationalstories.com and www.sermonillustrations.com
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