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“…because we fear death we often engage in self-preservation to the point of sin – we are willing to make sure others die so that we don’t. It is not only that sin leads to death (Romans 6:23), but death (or our fear of it) also leads to our sinning (for example committing murder). Just the fear that we might be somehow diminished, or might ‘disappear’, can lead us to be willing to sin against others (to lie, gossip, spread false rumors, discredit, give disinformation, cheat or even murder)…to protect ourselves or prop ourselves up. Also, because we know we are going to die, we sometimes think we have a right to get all the gusto we can out of life and so we eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die (1 Corinthians 15:52)!” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“In our fallen, self-preserving tendencies, we—the broken ones and sinners when unrepentant— easily judge others…We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by what we see through their behaviors.”…this phenomenon usually indicates an astounding degree of “hardness of heart” resulting in a growing inability for compassion for others. The antidote to this includes the radical cultivation of humility, resting on utter dependence on God. This process leads us to new discoveries related to our personal spiritual poverty (cf. Matthew 5:3) and what we often call in class “humility, that living (wakeful) quality of being right-sized in the presence of God.” Authentic humility serves the “life in abundance” (John 10:10) and functions as the royal road to sobriety and love.” (Kyriaki Karidoyanes FitzGerald)

“St. Paul reminds the Thessalonians that whatever tribulations, insults and persecutions they are enduring now must be kept in perspective of the long term hope they all share. Looking beyond the present difficulties will keep them steady, unshaken and untroubled. Paul knows what they have been going through, and yet he also knows that despite all, or because of it, their faith and love for one another is growing. And for this he gives thanks (2 The 1:3). Saint Luke emphasizes that the coming of the Lord will overturn without warning everything we know about normal life, beginning with the central paradox of Jesus’ teaching, that the instinct for self-preservation is turned on its head. The one saved is the one willing to give himself up.” (Fr. Lawrence Farley)

“The story of Cain and Abel is not a children’s bible story, but rather deals with us adults and whether or not we will follow the Gospel commands, obey Christ and deny ourselves to take up the cross, or whether instead we will choose self-preservation especially if we believe it will benefit our status in the world…Thank [God] for having endowed some, many, most and maybe all with the heart, soul and mind of children who act without hesitation to conquer all instincts of self-preservation when an opportunity arises to react on behalf of another creature, human or animal, in need of help, rescue or comfort.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh, Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)

“Some may fear that self-care means self-centeredness and spiritual self-indulgence. It does not. Self-care means maintaining ourselves so we can continue to be well pleasing servants of God who radiate the joy, peace, and light of Christ rather than the gloom and darkness of this world. It means investing in being able to be more in the present moment rather than a ball of stress who never has time to talk to anyone with any depth. It stresses quality of our interactions and tasks rather than the quantity of how much we get done. We would do well to reflect on Christ and how He withdrew to the mountain to pray, despite the multitude of needs around Him. It is okay to give ourselves moments in which we pause and take inventory of our inner world, so we know how best to proceed next; much like a responsible captain of a ship, who gathers data related to weather and position, before proceeding further.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)


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