Mastery of the moment is mastery of life.
These words, spoken by the Archbishop of Baltimore, are lost in our culture. Concepts of self-mastery, self-discipline, and self-control have no place in a society where the highest goal is “unrestricted freedom.”
Many leaders in the Church argue that American culture is “post-truth” meaning that we live in a relativistic society. We see this every day – it’s the “you do you” mentality.
Without truth, there is no measure or goal of excellence for which we all strive. Everyone sets their own bar. And, anything that holds the individual to a higher standard and asks more of us is seen as hostile. Just look at how our culture views the Church.
Why bring this up? Well, it’s partly to help us understand the times we live in. And, it also helps to make sense of why the Church teaches what she teaches.
Here’s an example that Bishop Barron often uses to make sense of this. If life is like golf, our culture is telling us that we should be free to play however we want. No one can tell us we’re playing right or wrong. We can make up scoring, swing however we want, etc. Sure, that all works if your goal is to simply play golf (but arguably then you’re only playing some form of golf).
But, if you’re trying to play the game of Golf well, then there are obviously rules and regulations to start, but then there are such things as best practices. Techniques and movements that help us to excel. The Church is there to guide us in such a way so that we can golf well (live well).
So, while the Church asks us to sacrifice and ‘take up our cross,’ it’s uncomfortable and even painful, but as in anything that requires effort to succeed, it’s well worth it.
Be the Men.