Lk 9: 22-25
“The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
The ashes are gone from our foreheads and Mardi Gras seems ages ago. Today’s readings move us deeper into the heart of Lent. Moses tells the people of Israel that if they love God and obey God’s commandments, they shall have life and prosperity (Dt 30:15–20). Jesus tells his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Lk 9:23).
While we’ve heard these lessons many times, we still wonder what it means to love God, to follow Christ.
“In a word,” writes Marcus Borg in The Heart of Christianity, “it means ‘practice’”—loving God and what God loves. Being a committed disciple.
The word discipleship and the word discipline are one in the same. To make the conscious decision to follow Christ is the decision to live a disciplined life in the Spirit. To look through the eyes of faith and recognize God’s grace and presence all around us. To listen with the ears of love to the needs of the world. To reach out with the hands of justice and mercy to serve wherever the needs are greatest. And to weather the storms that inevitably come.
How can I “take up my cross” daily and follow Christ more fully?
What inward and outward practices might I incorporate into my life to strengthen my relationship with God?
—Jeremy Langford, Director of Communications for the Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits. Adapted from his book, Seeds of Faith: Practices to Grow a Healthy Spiritual Life ©2007 Paraclete Press, Brewster, MA.
Prayer for Generosity
teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve you
as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to seek reward,
except that of knowing that
I do your will.
—St. Ignatius of Loyola
For a printable version of this prayer from JesuitPrayer.org, Click Here