Monday, February 25, 2013

Lent 2013, IX

IX. Is the enjoyment of a little bit of cheese such a big thing? No. But it is an illustration of the greater problems that come from grasping after good things. The more I clutch at them, the less I am able to enjoy them. Self-control and right order are necessary, not only so that these temporal goods don’t become idols, but even so that I can enjoy them at all. An alcoholic is, of all people in the world, the least able to appreciate a Guinness draft. A sex addict is the person who enjoys sex the least, but craves it the most. Someone who cannot say no to chocolate, cannot enjoy chocolate. A professional athlete is the person who is least likely to play simply for the love of the game. What is at stake here, on this lowest, most natural level? It seems as if it were freedom, really. The goal of disciplining my desires is so that they do not become needs. Need is the enemy of desire. I am not yet talking about Lenten discipline, but this is a broad understanding of the discipline requisite to daily life. This is ordinary human discipline, which means it will not get us to heaven, but it will prevent hell on earth, and it is the basis of something much, much greater.

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