Life in the most inclusive sense has been defined as "resistance to the pull of gravity". Only where such is expended is there life; where the effort ceases life too ceases. If this is true in the biological sphere, it is all the more true in the spiritual. The human person is the being which does not become itself automatically. Nor does it do so simply by letting itself be carried along and surrendering to the natural gravitational pull of a kind of vegetative life. It becomes itself always and only by struggling against the tendency simply to vegetate and by dint of a discipline that is able to rise above the pressures of routine and to liberate the self from the compulsions of of utilitarian goals and instincts.
Our world is so full of what immediately impinges on our senses that we are in danger of seeing only details and losing sight of the whole. It take effort to see beyond what is right in front of us and to free ourselves from the tyranny of what directly presses upon us.
~ Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI