Hard Work

“…being a Christian is easy – if you believe in Jesus, you will never be tempted again, and everything will go your way”

-from a thought-provoking post written by the fabulous Tara Stone over at ImpactingCulture.com

But more on that later.

Depending on what time you are reading this today, I am either stressing out about my Greek final, currently taking my Greek final, or incredibly thankful that my Greek final is over.  After my final is over, I have approximately 6 days to finish two 10-page papers before I get to board a plane and officially begin my Christmas break.

Funny thing about school: most of the time, just “being smart” isn’t enough.  There may be those classes that you can skate by on just natural-born intelligence, but the classes that you actually get something out of usually require a little bit more effort.  Or worse: a lot more effort.

There are a lot of things in life like this.  We may be born with a certain knack for something—be it painting, music, closing a deal, etc. but no one in this life is exempt from hard work.  The things that matter most in life rarely just fall into our laps.

The crazy thing is, when it comes to our faith, there is no question that it is a gift freely given by a God who owes us nothing and to whom we owe everything.  We would not know God had He not chosen to reveal Himself to us; and ultimately, everything we have in this life (our faith included) is His gift to us.  In this manner, it can very much be said that our faith has fallen into our lap.  (And of all the things to come without effort, this is by far the best one possible).

But, as any Christian trying to live his or her life for Christ knows, the fact that we did not, and cannot, earn our faith does not mean that we are exempt from hard work.  As much as we may wish that the quote at the top of this post were true (or pretend that it is when others are around), the fact is that truly living life as a Christian is hard.  And like many of the best things in life, it requires discipline and effort.

Fortunately, like the relief I’ll be feeling a week from today when I’m on that plane, the hard work will all be worth it in the end.

Also, today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary! (Holy Day of Obligation).  Don’t forget to go to mass!

(And in the spirit of my Greek final: κεχαριτωμένη , a title for Mary translated as “full of grace” in Luke’s Gospel, is actually a perfect participle, more literally translated as, “one who has been bestowed with grace.”  Could it be that she was “bestowed with grace” at the moment of her conception?)