Retreat Notes: “Why Bother?”

Why do we bother?

Why is this question worth asking?

  • It comes to mind because lots of people do not bother, and our psychology is affected by their examples.
  • It also comes to mind because it is hard.
    • Takes up a lot of time.
    • Takes up a lot of money.
    • Takes up a lot of our attention.
    • [so yes, it is hard]
  • It also comes to mind because there are other things that we could be doing (opportunity costs)
    • Plus there are opportunity costs: I got a job offer – 50-75% more than I am making now.
      • That is my opportunity cost for being a priest.
    • But isn’t that what we go through all the time?
      • It’s not just about the time, but what else we could be doing with that time
      • It’s not just about the money, but what else we could be doing with the money
      • It’s not just about the attention, but what else we could be doing with it

What does God say about this? He warns us that it is going to be tough… and that it should be tough.

  • St. James (General Epistle 1:2). “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you fall into various tribulation.”
  • St. Peter (1 General Epistle 4:1). “Christ suffered here on earth. Now you must be ready to suffer as he did.”
  • St. Paul (Philippians 1:29). For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
  • C.S. Lewis: “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”
  • Christ Himself said (Beatitudes). “Blessed are those… who suffer.”

We even have a term for this suffering. You heard about it today (Sunday of the Cross).

  • Christ (Mark 8:34) “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

If we understand what it means to take up our CROSS, then we’ll understand why we do all the things we do.

  • We think of it as our own suffering. “This is my cross to bear.” But that is only partly true.
  • Is it the suffering that we celebrate when we venerate the Cross? “Yeah, this hurt God!”

Why did Christ go to the cross? Understand that, and we understand why we need to do it, as well.

Questions for Discussion

If monk prays in the wilderness and no one knows about it, does it matter?

If a parish serves the liturgy and no one knows about it, does it matter?

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