Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rosary - Qatar
FIRST THINGS FIRST!
Updated: Feb 5, 2021
As Christians, we are called by God to offer ourselves in service to others. This could take the form of physical service, such as giving alms to the poor, or giving our time to someone who needs our help. It could take the form of spiritual service, such as dedicating our prayers for the specific intentions of others. It is through service such as this, done with the right intentions and from the heart, that we glorify God through our works. St. Paul says in his letter to the Galatians, “Serve one another, rather, in works of love, since the whole of the Law is summarized in a single command: Love your neighbour as yourself” (Gal 5:13-14).
But what does it mean to love ourselves? Anyone who has taken a plane flight will be familiar with the expression: “Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” This means that before we can be good to, or for, anyone, we need to have our own spiritual selves in proper order. When Jesus told us to “love our neighbour”, he also reminded us that we need to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mt 22: 37-40). In order to do this, we must first work on being healthy in all of these regards. When we put God first, we are also given permission to focus on ourselves in all the right ways. We feed ourselves healthy food when we want to have a healthy body. Sometimes, that means saying no to our cravings for fast food or sweets. The same is true when we are trying to nurture our heart, mind and soul. The influences we are exposed to “feed” us: What we read, who/what we listen to, what we watch all contribute to what we believe and, ultimately, do. When these things are unhealthy for us, we need to pray for the grace to say no to them, as well as the strength it takes to distance ourselves from them. God created us in His perfect image. When we strive to honour that creation, which is ourselves, we can then be in a better position to offer good service, and a more positive example, to others. “We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life as from the beginning he had meant us to live it” (Eph 2:10).
Challenge: Take time this week to take stock of your current situation. Who/What are you putting first in your life? Where is God in that list? What practices do you need to keep and which do you need to change? Once you have answered these questions honestly, pray for the grace to make the necessary adjustments. You are never alone, and you do have a choice to make. Choose wisely.
Have a peace-filled week ahead!