One common fault among men is their desire for comfort. This is especially true in our times. The technological advances enjoyed by mankind today has given us many luxuries, unnecessary ones. Man seems to have forgotten that he isn’t meant for this world and has indulged himself in frivolous pleasures. The unfortunate consequences of this is that as a whole, our society has grown more sensual and more susceptible to temptation. It’s no wonder then why the sins of the flesh are so widespread today. Men no longer have to will to fight them. Frankly, few even care about them at all.
However, Holy Mother Church, knowing the danger these unnecessary luxuries posed to her children, cautions them against it. She instead encourages us to embrace our cross and mortify our passions. The liturgical season we are currently in, namely, Lent, is an excellent example of this. Here we are called to set aside some lawful pleasures in reparation for our sins and in preparation for Easter. I am confident all the men reading this can do without some small luxury. A suggestion of mine would be sleep, getting up fifteen or thirty minutes early will provide you with ample opportunity for penance. There are endless ways to include some small sacrifice in your day. I invite you to find some of your own.
As men, it’s especially important that we include some sort of willful suffering in our day. Penance does more then make amends for our sins, it strengthens the will against carnality. We are surrounded in a world where our senses are overwhelmed by sensuality. Too often us men have fallen into sloth, lust, and gluttony because we lack the self-restraint or virtue to resist. Why? Because we have grown soft. We’ve lived as pagans, satisfying our appetites and giving into our passions. Instead of rising in saintliness, we have degraded ourselves to the level of animals.
Never seek Christ if you are unwilling to bear a cross. The road to paradise is a narrow one. Every man’s soul must be tried as though it were gold in the fire. Gradually, God will help to destroy in us our imperfections and blemishes, but only so long as we cooperate in His will and subject ourselves to the sufferings He may send us. There is not a saint in heaven who has not suffered exceedingly for Christ. Remember this, every soul will have his own Calvary.
Men are called to temperance, rather than overindulgence. We are called to a white martyrdom, a heroic life of self denial. Rise above your inclinations and sinful passions, embracing the cross which Christ has entrusted you.
St. John Bosco, pray for us!