It is the nature of the wise to resist pleasures, but the foolish to be a slave to them.Epictetus
Modern hedonists love to insult religion for the crime of giving up pleasures occasionally. They mock Lenten sacrifice. They mock fasting. They mock giving up meat, going to Church, they mock “artificial” limits on pleasure-seeking. To them, pleasure IS the meaning to their lives.
What they fail to recognize is that they’ve become a slave to their passions. The friend who spends his entire night at a friend’s wedding trying desperately to get with any girl there. The man well into his thirties, single and unable to form lasting connections, stuck in his ways, his loop. The woman, living alone in a city apartment, addicted to the dopamine hit of app matching, meeting, f*cking, then resetting by Monday. The glutton, incapable of stopping, desperately unwell and unhappy, but with no tools to stop their desires.
Restraint is STRENGTH. Self-control is POWER. Discipline, raw, uncelebrated discipline that only you can see and feel in your head, is freedom. What is pleasure if you can’t deny it to yourself? It’s addiction. It’s an obligation, it’s suddenly what you’re living your entire life for.
This is what hedonists don’t understand about sacrifice. They think it’s dulling your life; making it less vibrant. What sacrifice is is building and demonstrating self-control. To honor your God, to honor your family, and to honor yourself.
You enrich your life by being in control of it.