Fr. Dan Ferrandiz
Most of us have been Catholics our whole lives. Baptized Catholics, we grew up coming to Mass, learning our faith at school or CCD, and enjoying a familiar and comfortable Catholic environment. This background has many advantages. But it also has disadvantages. And one of the biggest disadvantages to growing up Catholic in a comfortable Catholic community is the syndrome called spiritual passivity.
Spiritual passivity happens when Catholics go through the motions of church worship without actively seeking to deepen their faith and become truly mature Christians. They keep up appearances, maintaining Catholic traditions without appreciating why those traditions exist and what good they do for them. Or worse, there are people assuming a false appearance of virtue or goodness in respect of their religious beliefs or pretends to have feelings or beliefs of a higher order than his real ones.
This attitude is no longer spiritual inertia but hypocrisy.
It happened to the Israelites, it could happen to us.
In His Bread of life discourses, Jesus tries to draw us back into seeking something deeper in our faith, “Do not work for food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life” (John 6:27). Jesus wants us to realize that true Christians’ real fulfillment comes from more than just making a living; it comes from making a life.
Work is essential as it brings us a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction to our lives. Work stimulates us and can bring us success but when it takes over our lives to a point where we no longer find the satisfaction in what we do or we become slaves to our jobs, then that is when work infiltrates our lives in a negative way. We find ourselves in a place where we “exist” but we don’t “live”. But don’t get me wrong. Work is not our enemy. It only becomes the enemy when we allow work to take over our lives and our sense of self.
Our self-worth and sense of identity must not be based on the economic value of our work. When we exist just to earn a living, we actually do not live because “living” must be associated with joy and the sense of fulfillment. Money, honor and fame cannot satisfy the soul. Only God can.
St. Paul when speaking to the Christians of Ephesus said that baptized Christians must “put away the old self” and “put on the new self” (Eph. 4:24). We can say that here St. Paul implies that we have the power to choose to live a life not just earn a living.
Do not lose hope, as there are things you can do that will enable you to live your life earning a living doing and still doing what you love to do. And all you have to do is to make the choice that you want to change from living a life where you are just existing making a living to living a life where you are happy, fulfilled and doing what you love. So if you do chose to make a Life you love, here are 10 important steps to help you get started. Take the A-C-T-I-O-N & be F-R-E-E with that action.
1. A — Accept that this journey is going to be hard.
2. C — Commit to that journey.
3. T — Track your life- put your life purpose on track with clarity of purpose and plans.
4. I — Imagine the hindrances and figure out how you will deal with them
5. O — Order your priorities and stop comparing yourself with others. Remember a flower does not compete with the other flower next to it. It just blossoms.
6. N — Never give up but become resilient. Life will throw you some curve balls, you will make mistakes and you will feel at times very sorry for yourself. You need to overcome the low points toughen up and bounce back.
F — Face your FEAR and find your Courage – you will need it when you step out of your comfort zone
R — Be REALISTIC about your ideal life. You may not have it all but you can have enough to be very happy. Focus on the top 3-4 priorities in your life that will bring your happiness and joy.
E — ENTRUST your life to God by practicing gratitude daily.
E — Enjoy your journey.
Make a life not just a living — it is a choice that we make and we have that ability to choose which way we want to go. We have to believe great things are going to happen in our life. Do everything we can – Believe, Pray, Prepare, and make it happen!