August 8, 2008
Saint Dominic. Memorial
Matthew 16: 24-28
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father's glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct. Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in the power of your cross. I desire to live all my crosses uniting them to the redemptive act of your love. I thank you, Lord, for teaching me how to live the sufferings of life with you.
Petition: Lord, teach me to love you so much that I will never fall into the error of forfeiting my life for other affections.
1. Eternal Life As we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it helps to take a few moments to sit back, close our eyes, and raise our minds and hearts to Christ. Remember where we are headed: heaven, or the “finish line” as St. Paul calls it. This world is not everything; we are created for bigger and better things to come. Contemplate what Christ has in store for you. Relish its beauty! Enjoy the moments of consolation this brings you, and resolve never to forfeit the eternal prize. So, when you feel yourself drawn into activism, lift up your heart! When you see temptation knocking at your door, pressuring you from every side, return to the Lord! When the sufferings of every day life begin to weigh on your feeble soul, keep the vision alive! We are pilgrims on a quest to be with Jesus forever in heaven. Let the mere contemplation of it give you strength.
2. Follow Me Following Christ is not easy, but it is very rewarding. Nothing in life comes easy, and the greater something is, the more we are willing to suffer for it. What is greater than eternal life? We have to take up our cross and follow the Lord. Experience shows that people can neither control their disordered passions and inclinations nor persevere in faithful and personal love for Christ unless they practice self-denial. Self-denial is the thermometer of supernatural love and true surrender. Of itself, self-denial has no reason to exist in man, nor is it at all attractive to human nature, which is inclined to grant itself every possible satisfaction. Yet, self-denial is the cross, and from it comes the strength that is necessary for holiness. Self-denial out of love for our Lord gives us the strength to avoid falling into rationalism and to fight our pride, self satisfaction and sensuality.
3. Save Your Life by Losing It It seems ironic that in order to save our life we have to lose it. What about our plans, our way of doing things, that great vacation home, those trips abroad? We recall that in order to make it to heaven, we are to use our freedom for the purpose that God gave it to us. We are to embrace truth and love freely. Freedom, like all virtues, finds its fulfillment in charity, which is friendship with God. The more I give myself to Christ, losing myself in him, the more I become free. My happiness is in becoming a humble servant who finds joy in the friendship I have with Christ, doing not my will, but allowing his will to be done in me.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, help me to be like the seed that dies bringing forth fruits of holiness and constant conversion in my own soul and in those around me. Help me to keep my focus on you.
Resolution: I will see where my plans and resolutions do not coincide with Christ’s, and I will change them.
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