The Road to hell is paved with good intentions. I have always loved this old adage. It really says a lot. How many times do we intend on doing something good and never really get around to doing it. I know for myself I always have the intention of praying the rosary every day. This is not a difficult thing to do especially since I have produced a rosary tape which really keeps me focused on the mysteries. I can do it while I'm driving to work or going from one place to another in my car. Yet I seem to always forget. Or I listening to the radio and find myself enraptured in a talk show. Due to original sin we always tend to move toward the most comfortable place, following the course of least resistance. Prayer is not always comfortable. It is very much like physical exercise. It can take effort and determination to start and even more to stick with it. You may feel great because you are exercising but it is still an effort to pound and mold your body into the sculpted masterpiece you desire it to become. So too with prayer. It is spiritual exercise and even more difficult to see the results. In fact, much like physical exercise you may feel a "high" when praying especially in the beginning. But the "high" is not enough to sustain a consistent effort. It soon fades and you will be left with the drudgery of plodding forward even though you cannot see the goal or feel any comfort or joy in what you are doing. It is persistence at this point in both physical and spiritual exercise that will pay off with the greatest rewards for your effort. But remember you may have all the good intentions in the world but they will only lead you to hell unless you act upon them and make them a reality.
The world is filled with mediocrity and lukewarm passionless individuals who lead their lives without a clue of how significant their actions are outside of their petty little spheres of influence. How sad to live a life that seems submerged in water; everything dull and deadened. Self-centeredness creates men and women incapable of reacting to anything that does not concern themselves. These people cannot even muster a desire for good intentions. Their lives are so consumed with their own little world that they cannot see how they could make the real world a better place if only they would reach out beyond their own concerns and every day lives. So where does God fit in to all of this? Have you ever noticed that we can go through the motions of "worship" and "the Church thing" but once we get back into our weekday grind we forget about God and just concern ourselves with what is "really" important to us. It is frightening. We claim to want to spend all eternity with God in heaven but He is the furthest thing from our minds. We separate ourselves from the eternal to embrace the temporary. We pay more attention to the dust and ashes of this world than to the lasting treasures of eternal life. There are even some who cannot imagine themselves ever going to hell because they "haven't been a bad person" but the last thing they think about when they think about heaven is being with God. In fact I think most of them would prefer a "heaven" without God. I mean, surrendering all of our desires , wants and emotions is just too much to ask. It would be so much easier not to have to mess with a relationship that demands total self renunciation as the price of eternal life. Just leave us alone. As long as we don't hurt any one isn't that enough? God wouldn't be so "cruel" as to condemn us to hell just because we didn't pay attention to Him while we were alive. Would he?
In the end we will all be judged not just on what we did against the will of God but also upon what we failed to do that which we should have. This life is nothing. A few short years and it's over. But what then. If we spend all our time concerned with this life how can we expect anything in the next. Jesus tells the story of a certain rich man who had such a great harvest that he didn't know what to do with all the grain. So he decided to pull down all of his silos and build larger ones to store his grain. And he said to himself, "Soul, you have many good things laid up for many years; lay back take it easy, eat drink and be merry." But God said to him, "You fool, this night I will demand of you your soul; and who will enjoy the fruit of all your labors?" And Jesus said, "So it will be with all those who lay up for themselves treasures on earth and are not rich in respect to God." (Luke 12:16-21) "Do not, therefore, lay up treasures on earth, where rust and moth consume and thieves break in and steal; rather lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither rust or moth consume nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also your heart will be." (Matt. 6:20-21)
Words are cheap and as my friend Johnny likes to say thoughts are even cheaper. You may have all the good intentions in the world but if you do not act upon them they will end up being so much kindling added to the flames of your own eternal sorrows. If your life is so active that you do not find time to serve with your Creator and you cannot find time to give of yourself lovingly to others then you are too busy. You are spending too much time on things that are ultimately unimportant. So, turn off the radio while you are driving and find time for prayer. Turn off the TV and spend quality time with your family. Find ways during the day to show your love for God and neighbor. The end result will amaze you. =