Thursday, August 1, 2013

Words that have changed me: Words for the Christians.

I recently returned from a retreat with the theme of lukewarmness in the Christian life.  Basically, it was all about how to stop being a hypocrite, how to stop being lazy, how to stop being "good enough" and actually pursue a genuine and whole-hearted relationship with God and consequently, every other person in life.

Something I heard many years back, probably when I was in middle school, rang in my ears the entire 3 days of the retreat, and those words have still not left me.  I was visiting my sisters who were living in DC at the time, and I attended a weekday liturgy at St. Mark's church.  Fr. Anthony Messeh gave the sermon.  I don't remember anything else he was talking about, though I was utterly confused that a sermon could be less than 2 hours long--let alone 20 minutes long--but I remember one line, "If there is any day in your life that you do not grow even a little bit closer to God, that day was wasted."

At this point the skeptics might ask, "But how do you know whether you grew closer to God that day or not?"  Well, think about how you grow closer to any human being.  It's when you feel you know them more, when you spend time with them, have a meaningful conversation with them, when you have a genuine appreciation/love for them, when you actually felt like you pleased them, etc.  It is hard to describe "growing closer" but if you've ever done it before, you'll intuitively know.  But if you're looking for some way to start measuring, it's probably best to start with the question of whether I at least found Him worth any of my time that day or not.

Something Fr. Abraham Wassef (Fr. Abe) said on the retreat was that God asks for a tithe, not just of our money, but of everything.  So 10% of our day would be 2 hours and 24 minutes.  Damn.  When have I EVER voluntarily given God 10% of my day?  Then I consider, well, what if during that 10% of the day I am actually only truly focusing 10% of that time, so 10% of 10% amounts to about 15 minutes worth of purely focusing on God.  When have I ever even done THAT?

If there is any day in your life that you do not grow even a little bit closer to God, that day was wasted.

Those words have pestered me over the years, always as a smack in the face with reality, reminding me what the point of all of this really is.  All of my grand plans for the future, most of the 7,517 days of my past, melt into a wasteland of half-assed-Christian-ness.  I can't keep doing this.  None of us can keep doing this.  As William Wallace in the movie Braveheart said, "Every man dies, but not every man really lives."

If there is any day in your life that you do not grow even a little bit closer to God, that day was wasted.

1 comment:

  1. I really love this line, and I don't think I'm going to be able to forget it. That's something to think about. I guess it's far too easy to forget about God nowadays with all the possible "important" things...cough cough ..... excuses.... cough cough.... that the world keeps throwing at us. I guess what we're able to do now is prepare for the moments that God has yet to grant us to do so. It's amazing how great His mercy is; He thinks of us everyday and protects us, but we, on the other hand, tend to only remember Him when we really need something, we're hurt, or we just got what we wanted so we're thanking Him. Sometimes we forget to talk to Him on a daily basis like we do with our family and/or friends.