There is no doubt that we are affected by the world around us. Or should I say, infected? How difficult it is to remain steadfast in our faith, when the fabric of society is designed to lead us away from God, and how easily we fall prey to its manipulations. I read with sorrow the story of a young girl, barely twenty, full of life and promise, who found out that she had a debilitating disease, and took her own life. How sad that our youth are being molded into a generation believing that if you are imperfect you don't deserve to live! Enter euthanasia, suicide, and abortion.
That is the death of the body. Then there is the death of the soul. Rejecting God is the surest way to damnation of your eternal soul, and so many people have set God aside and made their own pleasures the focal point of their life. The saddest is when this is a deliberate action, knowing full well the consequences, but abandoning God anyway for the fleeting enjoyment they can find in this life.
The closer I draw to the end of my life, the more I long for eternal life in Heaven, and the stronger my resolve to stay free from sin. I pray for the strength I need to fight the weakness of my humanity.
From Thomas A Kempis, The Imitation of Christ:
Acquiring Patience in the Fight Against Concupiscence
PATIENCE, O Lord God, is very necessary for me, I see, because there are many adversities in this life. No matter what plans I make for my own peace, my life cannot be free from struggle and sorrow.
The Voice of Christ
My child, you are right, yet My wish is not that you seek that peace which is free from temptations or meets with no opposition, but rather that you consider yourself as having found peace when you have been tormented with many tribulations and tried with many adversities.
If you say that you cannot suffer much, how will you endure the fire of purgatory? Of two evils, the lesser is always to be chosen. Therefore, in order that you may escape the everlasting punishments to come, try to bear present evils patiently for the sake of God.
Do you think that men of the world have no suffering, or perhaps but little? Ask even those who enjoy the most delights and you will learn otherwise. "But," you will say, "they enjoy many pleasures and follow their own wishes; therefore they do not feel their troubles very much." Granted that they do have whatever they wish, how long do you think it will last? Behold, they who prosper in the world shall perish as smoke, and there shall be no memory of their past joys. Even in this life they do not find rest in these pleasures without bitterness, weariness, and fear. For they often receive the penalty of sorrow from the very thing whence they believe their happiness comes. And it is just. Since they seek and follow after pleasures without reason, they should not enjoy them without shame and bitterness.
How brief, how false, how unreasonable and shameful all these pleasures are! Yet in their drunken blindness men do not understand this, but like brute beasts incur death of soul for the miserly enjoyment of a corruptible life.
Therefore, My child, do not pursue your lusts, but turn away from your own will. "Seek thy pleasure in the Lord and He will give thee thy heart's desires." If you wish to be truly delighted and more abundantly comforted by Me, behold, in contempt of all worldly things and in the cutting off of all base pleasures shall your blessing be, and great consolation shall be given you. Further, the more you withdraw yourself from any solace of creatures, the sweeter and stronger comfort will you find in Me.
At first you will not gain these blessings without sadness and toil and conflict. Habit already formed will resist you, but it shall be overcome by a better habit. The flesh will murmur against you, but it will be bridled by fervor of spirit. The old serpent will sting and trouble you, but prayer will put him to flight and by steadfast, useful toil the way will be closed to him.