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Challenges and Choices

“Love is both the greatest gift as well as the greatest challenge in life. It is a challenge to love those who dislike us or who annoy us. It is a challenge to empty oneself of our own interests in order to serve someone else. It is a joy to receive unconditional love from someone. And it is a joy to express unconditional love for someone, for unconditional love is Christ-like love and any time Christ-like love is either given or received, it is a joy.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“That communion and participation in the life of the other is possible is one of the single most contradictory challenges to the modern world-view. We are not utterly individual in our existence nor in our experience. We are beings whose lives are best expressed and fulfilled through communion. When this is rightly understood, it is nothing more than the proclamation of the primacy of love.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“When we endure the inevitable tension associated with purifying the desires of our hearts for their true fulfillment in God, we will know what it means to take up our crosses. We will suffer, not because pain is valuable in and of itself, but because of the struggle required to turn away from deeply ingrained habits of self-indulgence that have weakened and diminished us. Instead of romanticizing about some ideal spiritual path that we imagine would be either easier or more exalted, we should simply accept in humility that we must face the challenges that are before us for our salvation. Fantasizing about anything else is simply a distraction from making the particular offering of our lives that is necessary for our healing. The path to salvation is never a distraction or an escape from reality, but requires us to do the hard work of learning to see ourselves more clearly so that we may find healing for the given diseases of soul that we would prefer to ignore.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“…stresses and challenges of the moment can overshadow our remembrance of our divine calling. The passions and their temptations can divert us from the Lord’s summons to holiness. And the purpose for which Christ has chosen us to be His disciples can be lost in the day-to-day grind. Our study suggests that we ask ourselves whether we too need to be reminded of our calling–who we are, and whom we serve. If so, we must pray that the Lord of Grace will call us back to the holiness, that is the dedication to God that is our true vocation in Christ. When we do, then all that we do from day to day will have an underlying sense of a larger purpose.” (Fr. Basil)

“Then said Jesus unto His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself…’” Saint Paul poses this crucial challenge to all Christians: “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey?” (Rom 6:16). The assumption underlying the apostle’s assertion is that we are all slaves to someone, or to something. The reality is that we cannot serve Christ so long as we are ruled by anything else in this life. To be Christ’s slaves, we must wage a continuous resistance.” (Dynamis 7/30/2020)

“So it is with everything that the Lord asks us to do in His Name. Wherever there is the call to serve, there will also be challenges to overcome. When anyone goes about serving the Lord, the devil sets about making that work difficult. And the more vital the service, the more demons he sends to undermine it…How then should we respond to these countervailing forces? If we concentrate solely on the possibilities before us, we will fail to recognize and deal with the obstructions against us. On the other hand, if we focus solely on our adversaries, we will lose the courage to fight them. The solution is to focus on Christ. He is the one who calls us to serve Him. When we look to Him, he will guide and empower us for the work that He gives us. In Him and according to His will, we will be victorious over our adversaries.” (Fr. Basil)

“We cannot fully control what thoughts pop into our minds, but we can choose which ones we welcome into our hearts, put into words, and allow to shape our actions and character. We certainly cannot control what challenges each day brings, but we can always choose whether to respond to them according to our passions or as opportunities to offer ourselves to Christ for healing. The same is true in how we respond to temptations of any kind.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“…the trials in our lives, the challenges we face, are intended to reveal the truth that God has placed in our hearts. Satan may intend the trials for harm, but God’s good plan intends them for good.” (Neal Lozano)

“Saint Paul mentions some of the obstacles to the Christian journey: “afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watching, hunger.” (2 Corinthians 6:4-5) He also mentions the ways that obstacles are overcome and ways that we help others to overcome them: “purity, knowledge, forbearance (patience) kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, truthful speech and the power of God” (6:6-7). As we face obstacles and challenges, we are reminded to leave room for the Holy Spirit and for the power of God to manifest themselves. We aren’t expected to have all the solutions. When we come to a challenge with a Christ-centered approach, with purity, knowledge, patience, etc., then we can experience the power of God and the grace of the Holy Spirit.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“Christ entered our daily lives to give them true meaning, true life. Now, you either taste this life or you don’t. You’re either on the road or you aren’t. Christ called and continues to call each of us to take a stand as regards belief in Him. In the ideological, social, politico-existential confusion and decline we’re enduring, the Church invites and challenges every well-disposed person to come to the true life, without strings, and to take part in the communion of souls which we call the Church. There, they will come to know, will experience the permanent presence of the Lord in the life of the Church and will realize what it means to be united with Christ and other people.” (Eleftherios Balakos)

“Our lives are filled with amazing and challenging moments—sometimes we make the right choice, sometimes we don’t. We will find peace if we embrace all the wisdom life teaches us moment by moment instead of being deceived by the voice that says, “I will never recover from that bad choice” or “That experience was a waste of time.” (Father Barnabas Powell)

“…the power to choose a course that is unnatural to our human nature makes us weak and powerless. It is only the power to choose a natural course that brings us freedom. Unfortunately, too many of us have become enslaved to the multitude of bad choices we’ve made.” (Kevin Scherer)

“Every day, and in many moments of the day, there are choices to be made. We have a choice to choose good and a choice to choose evil. We can choose Christ or we can choose sin. Choosing Christ means to put aside the impulse to sin. It means putting sin to death, squashing it, and then choosing Christ. Of course, no one wins this battle every time. Some days, even with the best of people with the best of intentions, evil wins, we choose wrong. That is the human condition. The challenge, and it is a daily challenge, is to die to sin, to put sin away; and to live in Christ.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“To live as Christ lived is what we strive to do, yet we struggle with it every day. It is a challenge, but it helps to remember that it is by loving our friends, enemies, neighbors and strangers that we help to illuminate the Earth with Christ's message. By being good to others we will be spreading the good news of the Gospel.” (Jason Roll)

“We had better stand on a foundation of rock because we live in a world where the rain beats down, the waters are rising, and the winds will blow and beat against us. It is a world that unrelentingly assaults our senses and confronts our values. It is a world filled with temptations—money, sex, power, fame, and pleasure. It is a world characterized by crime, violence, racism, poverty, injustice, inequality, and deceit. We live in a world that constantly challenges our understanding of truth and demands that we make choices. And those choices matter.” (Richard Stearns)

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