Humbly submit your will to God (Thy Will be done) and consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary and Joseph.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected
by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.”
Then he said to all,
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?” LK 9:22-25
Why do we have to deny ourselves? We have inherited a fallen human nature, a loss of grace/holiness. We have an inclination to sin each day we wake (concupiscence). Oh, how many times I have followed my own desires instead of the Lord’s. What cross? Our daily crosses. Everyone suffers. It is relative to the situation your are dealt in life, but everyone suffers. Jesus gives purpose to our suffering and fashions our daily crosses to what we can deal with and sometimes what we can’t deal with, we can offer them up and receive grace which is necessary to reach heaven. The saints thanked God for their crosses. Our crosses are where we learn to embrace Christ and recognize we need Him falling to our knees to ask for Him to give us what we truly need, His grace, comfort, peace, and joy.
It is impossible to be holy without God’s grace. Salvation is a complete gift along with our lives. Therefore, we must lose our life to save it. We must become suffering servants like the Master Suffering Servant. Finally, our lives are not about us, they are meant to be given away. Look at a crucifix and really try to figure out the Truth about our lives.
When we believe Jesus resurrected and everything He says is true, we come to His feet each day in the Gospels to learn how to be a good and faithful servant. We are asked by Christ to lose our life for the sake of the Gospel. Our suffering has purpose and the saints even looked for ways to suffer more. Why? Jesus gave all. Even more important, He loved doing the will of the Father. The will of the Father was for Jesus to give up His life for the world. We could never even come close to paying Him back. He paid the ultimate sacrifice to save you and me. He continues to sacrifice today to stay with us hidden behind bread and wine, so that we will have spiritual food for the journey. He forgives when we are truly sorry and have fallen. Each time we fall and go through suffering, we become stronger and closer to Him. He strengthens us, never leaves us, always forgives, and is waiting daily for an invitation to be with us in our suffering.
Last, and most importantly, the greatest way to follow Jesus is by being detached from material things. ”What profit is there to gain the whole world but forfeit one’s life.” We are so distracted from what matters most. It takes daily submission to God’s will, prayer, silence, bringing ourselves to the sacraments, and continual learning and instruction by Jesus in the Gospels. We are human and we quickly forget. We are a mystery to ourselves. We need a rock, never changing Truth, to come back to so we do not get off the beaten track. I need Him constantly throughout my day. He has left us with the Holy Spirit to help us understand His Truths and pass them on to others. How shallow is our faith if we cannot pray in public and dialogue with others what we believe.
“Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words
in this faithless and sinful generation,
the Son of Man will be ashamed of
when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
Ouch! I have a lot of work to do! If we believe in the resurrection of Jesus which makes all of His Words True, this Lent may we begin to live in our hearts and minds like Christ. Christ is not dead, He is fully alive today with us. He resurrected!!!!! If we want to follow Him, we are called to die to self, offer up our daily crosses, strengthen our faith through His teachings, put on the Armor of God, and begin to fight Satan and grow in holiness! It is impossible to follow Him, without His grace and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. “Come to me all who are heavy burdened and I will give you rest.” ”My heart is restless until it rests in You.” Amen.
Today’s challenge: Lent is here, make a commitment to grow in holiness, fight Satan, and make time to pray and reflect on the Scriptures. Establish a good habit of this during Lent so that it continues throughout the rest of your life so you can look back at next year’s Lent and say, “I have grown in holiness the last 40 days.” We have suffered a lot this year. Reflect on suffering and its benefits!
Be a servant, become a saint!