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YOLO | St Shenouda Monastery Pimonakhos Articles

The acronym YOLO (You Only Live Once) is often used with negative connotations by young people today. So when someone is doing something that is of high risk to their life or outrageous they make sure they share #yolo with friends on instagram, tweeter. Somehow by sharing #yolo the person who did this outrageous act is excused from being publically ridiculed, on the contrary becomes an inspiration to others.

Surprisingly enough this expression is not a new one; 2800 years ago the Israelites used a similar expression to justify their disobedience to God. When the people of God were disobedient to His call for repentance, instead they lived the party life “eating meat and drinking wine”, when they should have been offering repentance and fasting. To justify their action they quoted the saying “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” (Isaiah 22:13).

While we as Christian have no problem with the expression, as it is obvious that we only live once, yet we can’t agree with the negative connotations. We only live once so we should live it in full obedience to Christ’s commandments. The problem that many people have with this kind of life is that they imagine it to be very boring and unsatisfying. If anyone does it they have to force themselves into it, putting up with all its undesirable toil for a reward in the next life. I think this is far from truth! Our life here on earth is not detached from our eternal life. Or to put it differently, our eternal life is a continuation of our life here on earth. So a person who lives in Christ here on earth has already had a foretaste of the fulfilled life to come. For example when the three young youth were thrown in the fire, Daniel 3, they were not unfulfilled and miserable, on the contrary they were fulfilled by Christ’s company in the midst of the fire.

Similarly St Anthony who went to the desert at the age of 18 and died at the ages of about 105. I can’t imagine that he chose to live 90 years in an unfulfilled life, in hope that he would be rewarded for it in the life to come. His fasting and ascetic life was not to him a price he has to pay here to make it to heaven, but it was his way of living a fulfilled life in Christ. He fasted because Christ fasted; he went to the desert to pray because Christ went to the desert to pray; He lived an ascetic life because Christ lived poor. All his ascetical exercises were ways of living a fulfilled life in Christ. In actual fact, our life in Christ is the only fulfilled life there is. Our only fulfillment is to live with the one who created me, the one who became man for me, the one who was crucified for me and the one who was resurrected and ascended for me. It’s the only life that does not end, “if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death” (John 8:51) because we will continue living with Christ in eternal life. Therefore, living with Christ is a fulfilled life and all those who live it can #yolo.