If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet lose or forfeit his very own self.
These words spoken by Jesus cut right to the heart of life issues. Where the world says, it's all about me, what I want, what I like, having it MY way is where it's at, Jesus says that living this way will cost me my very own self. I certainly find this to be true in daily life because I've searched, chased after my own dreams, my own desires, for my own comfort. What I've found, if I'm being honest with myself is a lot of emptiness. Having all the right stuff doesn't bring happiness that stays. It's short lived, much like the glitter of Christmas. Sure, there's the build up for two months about how great it will be to possess it, to enjoy it, to savor it, but when Dec.26 rolls around, life goes back pretty much to normal. The emptiness returns and it's on to the next thing.
So what next? What's the cure for the ill of me-ism? The prescription is to take my eyes off me, my, and mine. It's time to learn to turn the other cheek when someone wrongs me, it's time to consider others better than myself...this is the cross. Why is it called a cross? Because this stuff AIN'T easy. It requires real work, real sacrifice--something all but foreign to our day and time. We do all we can to avoid work...it's a four-letter word and something we daydream about getting away from. Many of us are 'living for the weekend' which is pretty short lived until it's back to the grindstone. Beyond that, we do all we can to avoid pain, suffering, or deferment of our wishes. Jesus is calling us to more. He invites us to come share in his suffering, to be conformed to his death...appetizing, huh?
It is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Make me an instrument of your peace.
I want to know what it's like to follow you.
When men look at me,
I want them to see the Light of the World inside.
-St. Francis of Assissi
Oh may they not see me, but the Light of the World inside.