Living life to the fullest

Have you ever observed how focused very small children are to the world around them? No matter how many distractions there might be, they see only what lies immediately before them; their entire being concentrated on that momentary object of attention.

I was struck by this thought as I was visiting my cousin after her husband’s funeral. Four of her daughters along with their children, ranging in age from twelve years to six months old filled the house with the joy of family.

As I watched I saw toddlers singularly focused on climbing, playing, investigating, eating, and sleeping. Every act was focused entirely on one thing. There was no thought of self, no concern for what others might think or how others might react. There was a palpable sense of the infinite watching them: everything is interesting, everything is welcome, and everything is possible. All things are new and exciting, waiting to be explored and discovered.  They were quite simply alive with living.

How sad it is that the age of innocence and wonder pass us by so quickly. We become self-conscious as we lose ourselves to the world that surrounds us, gathering concerns for what others might think, what possessions we can attain, how successful we can become. We lose ourselves in pursuit of that which gives us pleasure and in doing so we lose so much that is good, we lose our way, we cease to be alive with living.

We live in a culture that is becoming increasingly more secular; that openly disparages those that hold fast to a belief in God, that we are all His creations, and that we must keep faithful to His commandments. So many see themselves as the center of being, that the purpose of life is self-fulfillment and nothing lies beyond this life. Life itself is meaningless, with little or no redeeming value. They live with the creed of “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”

To live as Christians is never easy. It takes tremendous courage to resist the siren call of the secular world and to take up the cross of Jesus. It has been said that that which we possess possesses us. To follow Jesus we must become childlike, rid ourselves of all that possesses us, and live as Jesus commands us to do. Every so often it would be good to pause for a moment and recall the child that is in you. Who has the greater joy? Who is living life to the fullest? Who is more like Jesus?

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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