August 5, 2016
(Dedication of St. Mary Major Basilica)
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.” Mt_16:24-28
Nobody ever said life would be a bowl of cherries. And if they did, they probably never told you about the pits.
If we go all the way back to the very first man and woman, even they had to face the challenge of a pretty tough decision. Would it be the easy, feel good, instant gratification choice of sin and death? Or would their path to eternal life involve a little suffering, a little denial, and a whole lot of faith in something totally unknown?
We know the end of the story. Adam and Eve buckled under the strain of temptation. And they choked on the pits before the sweetness of their choice ever faded away. It’s the story of life.
Even St. Peter, who was right there, day after day with Jesus, buckled under the strain of accusation and persecution. He forgot all about that 9th Beatitude that Jesus taught – about the blessedness of being insulted and persecuted because of Him.
Self-preservation always seems
to take priority over principles.
And that’s exactly why it takes a lifetime of discipline . . . Learning how to take up our crosses, sometimes denying that pleasure of instant gratification, sometimes withstanding the pain of illness, or the pain of loss, in order to follow in the footsteps of the Lord.
And ALWAYS knowing, always trusting, in Faith, that it’ll ALL be worth it in the end, or better yet, in the beginning of our Eternity with God.
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