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Do not seek your own advantage... (1 Corinthians 10:24)
"The human being has a deep-rooted tendency to 'think only of self,' to regard one's own person as the center of interest and to see oneself as the standard against which to gauge everything. One who chooses to follow Christ, on the other hand, avoids being wrapped up in himself and does not evaluate things according to self interest." --Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day XVI
The Holy Father tells us that those who follow Christ see life as a gift, and those who follow only their own desires see life as something to be conquered and possessed. The pull to follow our self-interest is strong, but ultimately empty and false. It leads to loneliness and despair. Christ's way of self-giving is the path to true life and joy.
Get out a piece of paper. On one side of the sheet write the words "self-centered," and on the other side of the sheet write the words "Christ-centered." This week, before going to bed each night, reflect on your day. Under "self-centered" write down all the ways you focused only on yourself, on your needs and desires, throughout the day. Under "Christ-centered" write down all the ways you focused on the needs of others, how you gave of yourself to others, throughout the day.
Dear Lord, forgive me for the ways in which I focused only on myself today. Help me to be more like you in the days that come. Help me to think of the needs of others and to respond to their needs in the way you would have me. For this I pray, amen.
As a young man, Pope John Paul II loved to perform. His first theatrical performances were in the years 1934-1938 while in Secondary School.
My Dear Young Friends: Pope John Paul II Speaks to Youth on Life, Love, and Courage
Copyright © 2002 -- Reprinted with permission of the editor, John M. Vitek.
My Dear Young Friends, a collection of fifty-two weekly reflections on living in the Spirit, invites young people to read and act on Pope John Paul II's inspiring addresses to young people gathered at annual World Youth Day celebrations. Please visit www.smp.org for more information from the publisher, Saint Mary's Press.