There. That headline got your attention didn’t it?
As usual, I’m trying to stand things on their head. This is what I mean: Be self centered. Look after the good of your own soul first and foremost. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
There are several advantages to this. First, it will stop you being a busybody. Mind your own business. As Thomas a Kempis writes, “Why do you want to change the world when you cannot change your own soul?” When I look in the mirror there’s still a lot of work to be done. In fact, I sometimes think there’s more spiritual work to be done than ever. I feel like I’m going backwards most of the time. Second: being concerned first about your own soul reminds you that you can’t do much about other people anyway. They’ll make their own choices. Worrying yourself about their eternal condition won’t do you much good and it won’t do them that much good either. So be concerned with your own salvation.
Of course, here’s the paradoxical bit: if you are concerned with your own salvation you will naturally be concerned about other people too–but you’ll be concerned about them in the right way and for the right reasons. If you’re self centered–that is, caring about your own soul’s salvation, then you will also reach out to others in loving compassion and concern–but you will do so out of a natural care and love–neither being a busybody or doing good to others in order to make yourself feel good or because you really think you ought to.
Being concerned first with your own salvation is another way of saying, “Love God then Love your neighbor”. If we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, then the next phrase is, “and love your neighbor as yourself.” So it’s simple, but that which is simple is rarely easy.There’s more. If you look after the good of your soul as your first priority everything else will soon fall in line. “Seek first the kingdom of God and everything else will be added to you.” You will start to become happier and more well adjusted. Because you’ve prioritized your life you won’t sweat the small stuff so much. You’ll be more laid back and easy going and more able to forgive yourself and others for their faults. As you become happier and more confident you will have better relationships, your career will improve, your marriage will improve. You’ll probably even start to get more money! What I mean by this, is that if you become the sort of person who is so positive that your business or your career will also be given a boost, you will also have the right priorities and not spend so much money on dumb stuff and so you will hey presto! find that you have enough loot.
That’s the way it works in the spiritual economy. You can’t out give God. Get the first relationship with God right and everything else will improve also.
For more advice on the practical practice of the Catholic faith subscribe to my free, weekly newsletter, FaithWorks! Here’s the latest issue. Sign up using the box in the right sidebar.