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"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," (Col 3:12)

08 June 2023

Let us begin our reflections with the second letter of St. Paul to Timothy, 4,6-8

Let us begin our reflections with the text of the second letter of St. Paul to Timothy, 4, 6 - 8: 6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

This is the passage that the Apostle writes at the end of his life, it is - as we feel from these words - a summary of the life of a man whose life was as violent as a storm at sea. I like the fact that the Apostle does not dwell too much on his life, he does not groan about his fate, he does not complain about difficulties, but he says so specifically that he is aware that life was good, but also imperfect. Saint Paul speaks well of his life, and speaking well always motivates a person. Do you speak well of your life? Do you feel that your life is good ? If you stood before God today or found out you were about to die and someone gave you a piece of paper, what would you write about your life? Maybe when you get home today, take a piece of paper and make your own version of this passage from the letter to Timothy, sum up your life in truth in five sentences. Just because you're still alive doesn't mean you haven't experienced anything. Besides, there is no point in waiting or postponing it until death, because you don't know when it will come. Write it a few days after this retreat, under the influence of reflection, not emotion. For here reason is needed more than feelings. And the most important thing for me: if there is something negative that makes you sad or afraid, don't get upset about it and don't get down, but see it in the perspective of hope, which assumes that as long as you live, you can change for the better. Let this hope motivate you to act. As Christians, we tend to have spiritual ambitions that we strive to achieve at all costs. Sometimes we demand too much from ourselves and we force God to look at us in the same way. Too much at once and too fast! We are a bit like treasure hunters who discovered a secret chamber full of gold items. However, entering this chamber, we stepped on wrong stair and opened the trap, because water began to flow from the holes in the walls, which flooded the chamber quite quickly. Of course, we don't want to give up the treasure, so we start packing heavy gold items into the bag, just as much as possible. We pull a heavy bag and the water still flows, but we don't want to leave the bag and in consequence we sink. And it would be enough to take one or two things and we'd be rich, and not only do we have nothing, we don't exist, we are dead. It's the same in the spiritual life: our ambitions die, and so do we, because we have misbalanced them. We would like to change too much and quickly. Not only did it not work out, but we also fell spiritually because of anger at ourselves, frustration, doubt in God, so much that we do not want to change anything. I will demonstrate this with a simple example of weights. I have two weights: 90 pounds and 15 pounds. Both weights represent my spiritual ambitions. Let's try to lift them both and carry them, for example, for a mile. And what's going on? 90 pounds of your ambitions, promises, sacrifices are harder to lift than 15 pounds. Of course, lifting 90 pounds looks better than lifting 15 pounds. It's better to rejoice lifting 15 pounds than to curse and be frustrated that I can't lift 90. And what's the conclusion: motivate yourself to change in small things that will make your spiritual progress, instead of dreaming of big changes, not having the strength to fulfill them. Does the Lord demand of you great sacrifices, prayers, sacrifices? Listen to the words from the Gospel of St. Luke, Chapter 16: “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. It could be translated: whoever practices small things will also practice great things. Sometimes I stand in front of an object that I would like to have, for example in front of an exhibition of watches that I like to collect, but I know that most of them I simply cannot afford, so I have to settle for something cheaper, less spectacular. Let's think about it and ask the question: Will a $15,000 Rolex show the time differently than a $100 Casio? It will show the same time and will also not let me be late for a meeting or work. Look at your spiritual life: maybe you don't have the same faith as St. Padre Pio, you don't levitate, you don't do miracles, you don't heal, your body doesn't smell like flowers, but is your faith different? Won't your faith help you get saved, lead you to the same goal as Padre Pio or St. John Paul II? It will give you the same eternal life, if only you do not lose your motivation to live it and deepen it every day. If you fight for that faith and sometimes fall, is it more important that you fall or that you keep fighting? It's like a soldier who goes into battle and before it starts, he tells himself: I will surely lose this battle, I will surely die. The battle hasn't even started yet, and I'm already declaring defeat. St. Paul literally says: I have fought the good fight, I am finishing the race, I am keeping the faith. Two things are significant about this original translation:


St. Paul writes in the past and present tense. It's like it's over, everything is over, which is not true, because as long as I'm alive, nothing is over. I still have faith, so I struggle. Evil knocks me down and I get up and run, I don't give up. Why? 'Cause I'm fighting what fight, what fight? GOOD, and good is worth fighting for and you have to fight for this good in your life.

And that's the other thing: focusing on the good in your life, focusing on the reward, because right after the words about the struggle, the Apostle mentions the reward. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Focus on the reward more than the rest. When an athlete participates in a competition, what he thinks about: the prize, the cup, the medal, the money. Have you ever seen an athlete receive a gold medal angrily because he has a bruise on his knee? In the winning interview, did the champion moan because of the fatigue? No, because he was happy with the prize and didn't even think that his leg hurt. Have you seen a woman, a mother, who cursed her newborn baby for having to give birth to it? Rather, the pains of childbirth gave way to the joy of seeing a baby and being a mother. Our spiritual life is also a certain effort, based on struggling with ourselves, with other people, with the world and its toxic mentality. Nothing comes easy here, goodness always encounters obstacles that must be overcome by willpower and concrete struggle. Our faith allows us to see not only the obstacle, but also what is behind it and motivate us to jump over it, overcome it. And there is no obstacle in our faith that can overcome us. Why? Because Christ is with us, and as long as He is with us, it is really worth struggling. He will not do everything for us, he will not help us if we do not want to help ourselves, if we stop motivating ourselves, because motivation also comes from us. So let us keep motivating ourselves to fight for our salvation, we who are champions in faith. And so we should look at ourselves spiritually as spiritual masters. And champions never give up and constantly motivate to train to be able to confirm and defend the championship.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Father Marcin Cwierz, OSPPE

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"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," (Col 3:12)  

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