If I say there is a high cost of living, most would agree; however if I say living is priceless, that may not completely compute. Most would think I’m talking about the daily essentials like shelter, clothing and food, yet these are all incidental to our very lives.
We are created by God, each and every person to be unique, each with his or her mission and purpose. Every action we take, every word we speak, every thought we consider is a reflection of our relationship with God. In a recent homily, Fr. Mike Schmitz said, “Every choice has a cost and every decision has a price.” Even when I am careful about making a decision, it’s usually because I’m concerned about the consequences in this life. Most times, I don’t think about how a choice I’m making has an eternal consequence as well. However, if we love God, our hearts should pour out in all we say, do and think with actions allowing His Will to be done. When our choices are made from selfish desires, we may be hampering His Will, causing others as well as ourselves to be deprived of God’s glory and peace since our choices are not reflecting His presence in our lives.
It can seem rather overwhelming to be concerned about every little decision. For example, is God really concerned if we eat breakfast or not in the morning? That is a decision we have to make, but it affects the body God has given us, a body that is His temple on earth. The decision about breakfast, including the choices of foods, is one about fueling the body for the day. By feeding our bodies the right nutrients, we can better perform the tasks He has for us throughout the day. As we heard in Ash Wednesday’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples to not neglect their appearance when fasting, but to be sure to groom themselves as if they are not fasting. (Matthew 6:16-18) At all times, we also should make sure we are well groomed. That doesn’t mean wearing the most expensive clothes, but ones that are cared for, showing appreciation and respect that God has blessed us with the ability to clothe our bodies.
The true cost of living, however, is not the one we pay with careful attention to our choices. Rather it is the price that Jesus paid for us to return to God when we fall away and choose our own path. All the right choices in a lifetime still would not warrant eternal life with God. Jesus died and rose in order that we can spend eternity with God. We have the freedom to choose life or death, heaven or hell. He will allow us to become separated from Him, if that is our choice. We are given a lifetime on earth to practice choosing, and though we will make many mistakes, God loves us through all of them! When we learn from our failures as well as our good choices, we will be able to make the final choice at the end of our lives: eternal life with God.