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“Man was created to this end: that he should praise God, Our Lord, and reverence and serve

Him, and by doing these things, should save his soul. And all the other things on the face of the earth were created for man, to help him in attaining the end for which he was created. Whence it follows that man must use these things only in so far as they help him towards his end, and must withdraw himself from them in so far as they are obstacles to his attaining his end…Wherefore it is necessary that we make ourselves indifferent to all created things, in so far as it is permitted to our free will…in such a way that, as far as we are concerned, we should not desire health rather than sickness, riches rather than poverty, honor rather than ignominy, a long life rather than a short life, and so on, desiring and choosing only these things which more efficaciously lead us to the end for which we were created.” --Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain, p. 269 I think i'm beginning to gain greater perspective on just how much the reality of God must infect everything that i am and do. My life must be so focused on my end goal--the Kingdom of God in Christ-that i understand that everything else in the world can only serve to help me attain this goal or distract me from it. Anything that doesn't affect that end must be met simply with indifference, because it does not matter. Our Lord says to us, rather than worry about what we will eat or wear or do, we should seek first the Kingdom of God and righteousness, and then all else that we need will be given to us (Matt. 6:33). Seek the end goal. All the rest can only be the means to the end or nothing at all. That quote above blew my mind. Sickness, health, poverty, wealth, honor, shame--they mean nothing in themselves unless they are serving as a means to the end of gaining Christ (Phil. 3:8). If sickness will help you gain Christ or draw more into His Kingdom, desire sickness. If your shame brings honor to the Kingdom of God, desire shame. The desire for the end goal must be so powerfully present within us that the importance of everything else is only measured by how much it helps or detracts from achieving it. Therefore, all hardships, all circumstances, all the crappy things that life throws our way--they don't matter. We must keep pushing through them, or use them to attain our goal. "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13-14). God is blowing my mind with this, and i'm having trouble expressing it in words. I hope that He will rock you as i have been rocked with this, regardless of my limitations.