"If it feels good- do it." The bed is extra cozy Sunday mornings, so we stay in it. Like Falstaff, we "never eat fish on Fridays." Everybody's doing it, so I'll surf on over to those sites that would make my mother blush. Sure, I'll have one more drink- Didn't Chesterton advocate drinking and smoking (albeit only culturally-superior cigars)?
So it follows; if it doesn't feel good, don't do it. Don't call your mother-in-law. Don't scrub that pot. Don't get up to make him breakfast. Don't bother with night prayers with the kids all squirmy and yawning. Anyways, we are in good company. Peter, James, and John didn't feel like praying with Jesus in Gethsemani, and the Church made them saints.
In an Eastern Catholic community close by, they are mourning the loss of a beautiful family with 10+ children who have stopped participating in their church for a Western-rite church closer to their house. Nothing negative had happened to them at the Eastern church. In fact, all of the boys were faithful altar servers, and the father was a cantor. Mom and the girls also participated as choir and altar society members. The 20 minute drive was just too much; they didn't feel like struggling with their children to get them ready for a 9:30 Mass. While every person has the right to decide where they will go to Sunday Mass, the reason why they stopped going to their Eastern church will have serious consequences for the children. Getting up for school is a struggle, but they haven't stopped going to school. It seems that keeping the family tradition and participating in a church where "everybody knows your name" was of a lower priority.
If we don't do good things because we don't feel like it, we are like animals who use instinct and not rationale to govern themselves. A feeling- either positive or negative- might be the beginning of a decision, but it can never be the reason for the decision. All moms remember the feeling of embracing their babies for the first time; what an intense feeling! Do we still feel that intensity when we are getting up to feed our six-month old for the third time in the night? No, but it is faith and rationale that helps us do our duty with love.
Luke 6: 31-36, the Gospel for Byzantine Catholics last Sunday, is a clear mandate from Christ that we are to go the extra mile for our fellow man. And we are expected as Christ's followers to love our enemies and do good. Again and again, our faith is a faith of action; faith without works is dead. Feelings without faith and rationale are doomed to failure. Combining feelings, faith and rationale, we are higher than the angels! Amazing and wonderful- let's all try to be worthy of the gifts God has given us.