THE DANGER OF SETTLING IN
Sooner or later, we all face the danger of settling in with our lives, seeking the safe refuge that allows us to live peacefully, without shocks or undue worries, letting go of any other desires.
Having already attained a certain professional success, our family guided and the future more or less settled, it’s easy to let ourselves be trapped by an easy-going conformity that lets us get on with our lives more or less comfortably.
It’s time to look for an agreeable and homey atmosphere. Live relaxed in a happy existence. Make our home an intimate refuge, a cozy corner to read and listen to fine music. Savor some nice vacations. Set up some pleasant weekends…
But all too often, this is when we discover more clearly than ever that happiness doesn’t coincide with well-being. Such a life lacks something, and we’re left empty and unsatisfied. Something that you can’t buy with money or guarantee with a comfortable life. Simply put what’s missing is the very joy of someone who knows how to be moved by the problems and needs of others, feel oneself in solidarity with people in need, and somehow live closer to the ones mistreated by society.
But there’s even a way of «getting comfortable» that could be falsely reinforced by «Christian overtones». Peter’s on-going temptation is one that all too often stalks us Christians: «set up our tents on the mountain top». That is: seek our inner well-being in religion, avoiding our individual and collective responsibility for the goal of a more human coexistence.
However, Jesus’ message is clear. A religious experience isn’t truly Christian if it isolates us from our brothers and sisters, if it comfortably sets us up in our lives and distances us from the service of the most needy.
If we listen to Jesus, we will find ourselves invited to leave our conformity, break off from a selfish way of living in which we are perhaps comfortably settled, and begin to live more attentive to the challenge that comes to us from the most destitute of our society.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf