For some reason I can’t fathom, I was on the mailing list for a complimentary copy of a newsletter from a Baptist church in North Dakota. (It probably wasn’t personal, since it was addressed to “Resident.”) The cover article was titled, A Passion for Life.
The article began by quoting a humorous sign from a mortician the writer saw some years ago that read “Why Walk Around Half Dead When We can Bury You for $69.95? Do you have a passion for life?” It is a good question.
One of the five characteristic virtues taught by St. Vincent de Paul, one of my great heroes, is zeal, by which he meant love on fire. He wrote, “If love of God is the fire, zeal is its flame. If love is the sun, then zeal is its ray.” Vincent didn’t make this virtue up out of whole cloth. Over and over again, the Bible admonishes us to have a sense of zeal in what we do. The letter to the Colossians instructs, “Whatever you do, do from the heart.” (In some translations, “Whatsoever you do, do it heartily.”) In the Second Book of Chronicles, King Hezekiah is characterized as seeking God “with all his heart.” The Book of Ecclesiastes says, anything you do, “do with what power you have.”
Do we live our lives with passion? with zeal? Or do we just go through the motions, moving from one task to another with no enthusiasm and no heart?
Our lives are a gift from God and we only live once. None of us knows how much time we have, but it would be a shame to waste however much time that is going through the motions of a life lived without passion and enthusiasm.