Saint John of the Ladder: challenges us to take the Gospel seriously. As such, it continues last week’s message: Deny Yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Christ. Why? Because the world has fallen, and we have fallen with it; and it takes energy to restore things to their proper state. It takes a lot of effort to fix something that has been broken. When we refuse that challenge, we are really saying that we prefer things the way they are; that we are comfortable with the mess we have made of this world and of the mess we have made of our lives. More importantly, we are saying that it is not worth the bother to help others recover from all their pain and suffering. That we prefer sitting in our own warm filth too much to get up and lend a hand to people in desperate need of help. Because that is what it means to follow Christ: it means to put the needs of others before our own. What else is love than the denial of the self in service to another? This is the love God has for all His children, and it is the same love He expects us to have for one another. And He expects this of us 24/7.