Good Intentions


Anthony Gonzales


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.   =