Encouragement Through the WordDan Doyle
Life is difficult. There are many things that happen that make it so, what with realities like illnesses and accidents, injustices of every kind, and our own laziness. One of the most difficult things in life is having to make decisions. Decisions demand things of us. The most difficult demand that decisions make on us is that they are never free from the necessity to take responsibility for all of the consequences that come from them, the good and the bad. So many decisions have to be made quickly, and most require that we take a risk. Decisions are difficult, too, because we often have to make them based on limited knowledge and experience, but we have to make them anyway because of the demands of a given situation. And there is always the risk that we might be wrong. Because of this we sometimes become paralyzed at the prospect and we decide not to decide, either consciously, or unconsciously. The problem is that indecision has its own consequences, and they are ours too.
Difficult decisions come to all of us. But we know that we belong to a family of faith as Christians. If we listen to the teachings of the gospel, if we have been taught in accordance with the gospel of Christ by faithful catechists, preachers, and priests, the difficult ethical and moral decisions that will present themselves to us will be made in accord with the mind of Christ more and more often. In this the Christian community will grow in grace and faith and we will be more effective in bringing those who, as yet, do not know Jesus Christ to this faith.
Of course, our greatest decision as Christians is to take on the duties that belong to us as followers of Jesus Christ. And we have to do this daily. We are never alone in this effort. God is with us, encouraging us, empowering us, giving us the grace of courage. We have our brothers and sisters in Christ to help us stay on the narrow path. We have our own prayer life and the scriptures are always there as a guide for any situation. But decide we must. We must, in faith, decide to live and to love as Jesus did. When we make the choice to do so we pray, ‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.’ (Galatians 6:9)
Doing good in the world has its consequences. There are those who do not recognize it, or who are challenged in their own hypocrisy by it, and these may respond negatively to us. They may accuse us of foolishness. They may ridicule us as being naive, or worse. On the other hand, we will be making a difference in the lives of those who are hungry and thirsty, those who are naked, those who are ill, or imprisoned. We will be showing them the love of Christ. We will be helping them meet their daily needs. We will be encouraging them with the love of Christ. The world may condemn us, but ‘at the proper time’ when we stand before the throne of God, we will ‘reap a harvest’ beyond our comprehension. We do not take on the life of Christ in order to ‘reap’ a reward, though. We do it because we fall in love with God and nothing else matters. We do good, because we can not do otherwise. Still, being human, sometimes we are weak in the face of life’s exigencies and temptations, and we do grow weary. This is why Paul admonishes the Galatians, and us with this passage.
Lord, when we are tempted to grow weary, encourage us through your word, through our brothers and sisters and through our prayer lives, to remain committed to this noble and holy effort you call us to in this world. Help us to grow in our love for you so that we may continue with vigor to serve others out of that infinite love you have for all of us. We ask this prayer in your name, Jesus. Amen.
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