"Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it." Lk 17:33
The instinct to survive is strong. Very few people when facing the end of their life let go without a struggle. Although we see friends and family wrestle with cancer and wonder why they are willing to try almost any treatment, the fear of the unknown can overwhelm the best of intentions. In our everyday lives, we are urged to diet, exercise and relax regularly in order to live more healthily, and while this is understandable and good, we can become obsessed with preserving our lives.
Jesus is clear about all of this. While it is important to care for ourselves, we also need to examine our motives. Spending thousands of dollars for gym memberships and exercise equipment that we rarely use and ingesting all kinds of vitamins and herbs in the transparent attempt to resist the natural process of aging can be a not so subtle way of denying God's place in our lives.While it is important to eat well and reasonably, to walk regularly and care for our body as a gift from God, we ought also acknowledge and accept the reality of our own deaths.
The Christian who reads the Gospel with an open heart knows that the most basic Gospel challenge is to think and act on behalf of others, especially the suffering. Not to respond to the people of the Philippines because we are so obsessed with our own well being and fear of death is an offense against God and God's people. Only after meditating regularly and deeply on death and accepting its inevitability can we be sure that our efforts at self care are balanced with a heartfelt concern for others.
Today, give some time you don't have to help someone struggling to survive.
What are your biggest fears about death?