Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.
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
“Everyone one of you who does not renounce all of his possessions cannot be my disciples.” It can be a scary proposition to take this line of scripture literally. The real challenge is the word all. Can I give up all my possessions? I’ll be honest, my first answer is, no. But then I remember the wisdom of St. Ignatius who guides us to ask these questions: Am I mindful that all that I have is a gift from God? Is this possession bringing me closer to God or keeping me from God? If something I possess—my car, my computer, my phone—is interfering in my relationships, then perhaps I need to renounce it, or at the very least put it aside and realign my priorities, so that I use all things for good.
Today might be good day to pray and reflect on the Suscipe of St. Ignatius.
—Margaret Horner earned a Master of Pastoral Studies degree from St. Francis de Sales Seminary. She currently serves as the Director of Liturgy at Gesu Parish, Milwaukee, WI.
Accept, O Lord, and treat as your own my liberty, my understanding, my memory— all of my decisions and my freedom to choose. All that I am and all that I have you gave and give to start: now I turn and return all to you, looking to find your hopes and will in all. Keep giving me your holy love, Hold on me your life-giving gaze, And I neither need nor want anything else.
—Suscipe (paraphrase) by Joseph Tetlow, S.J. in Hearts on Fire, ed. by Michael Harter, S.J., © Institute of Jesuit Sources, 2004. Click here to download the Suscipe Prayer Card.
Please share the Good Word with your friends!