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“…even if we have spent time pursuing our deepest desires through the means that were not set up by God, even if we have become addicted by them, we can also repent and turn to Him in faithfulness. It is not wrong to do the things necessary for survival and even flourishing here on earth, but if we put our trust in those things to satiate the hunger for eternity that God has planted deep within us, then we will find ourselves in slavery to those pursuits. There is never enough success, enough money, enough food, enough pleasures to give us true immortality, true vision and elevation to the heights of human possibility. But if we put everything in life in service to faithfulness to God—using all our blessings not for ourselves but to serve the purpose of worship, of almsgiving, of self-sacrifice, of active love—then our faithfulness to God will be met with His grace. And that grace gradually transforms us in this life, even if incompletely, and accompanies us into the life of the age to come.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)

“…the pursuit of good things independently from God does not lead to flourishing but to self-injury. That which God has not given often appears pleasant and good, leading to disordered desires. When our hearts are enticed with rival conceptions of the good life, then all the things God has given to sustain us and advance our well-being (including trials) come to appear insufficient…the problem occurs when we begin imagining that the good life can be found in what is purely transitory. Since true flourishing can be found only in Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:8), and since patient endurance of difficulties brings us closer to Him (Rom. 5:3; 2 Cor. 12:9–10), it is often when we do not achieve our worldly goals that we have the greatest opportunity to realize the good life, both in this life and the life to come.” (Robin Phillips)

“…true worship is not about getting what we want on our own terms, but about personally encountering the God Who calls us into question….We are more likely to worship ourselves and our way of life in more subtle ways that are all the more dangerous as a result. Perhaps we expect that God will reward us with health, wealth, and success if we come to church and say our prayers. Maybe we think that our salvation is in the flourishing of a nation, a political party, or an ethnic group—and that God will bless those entities if we believe and behave in certain ways. We might assume that those we label as our enemies for whatever reason in this life are also God’s enemies—and that He will deliver us from them if we are good enough. In other words, we may be trying to use God simply to get what we want on our own terms. And if He does not deliver for us, then why should we worship Him?” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“What changes in modernity is that, instead of inhabiting this tension and trying to maintain an equilibrium between the demands of creaturely life and the expectations for eternal life, the modern age generates different strategies for resolving (i.e., eliminating) the tension. There are a couple of options: you can either effectively denounce creaturely domestic life and sort of demand monasticism for all (the so-called puritanical option); or you can drop the expectations of eternity that place the weight of virtue on our domestic lives — that is, you can stop being burdened by what eternity/salvation demands and simply frame ultimate flourishing within this world.” (James K.A. Smith)

“The tension between transcendence and finiteness and the anxieties that it generates, along with its potential imbalances, do not fully exhaust the possibilities of living the fullness of human life. Human life flourishes by its enhancement through the active and all pervasive presence of God’s presence in the world.” (Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Clapsis)


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