Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119)
Jesus, as the Son of God, denied his right to rule the world that he had created and chose instead unflinching obedience to the love and truth of God. This resulted in great suffering and eventually the loss of his life by rejection, torture and crucifixion. As a human being I deny myself by denying my right to always be right, my right to hold onto resentments in my being, and my right to always be comfortable and satisfied. This requires that I, like Jesus, am unflinchingly obedient to the love and truth of God, by loving my enemies and my neighbours, by living within a ‘righteous’, if uncomfortable, life style, by speaking the truth when asked, and by forgiving those who trespass (my boundaries) against me. Such obedience to the way of Christ can, and will at times, result in suffering. It could happen that I am stripped of my own human rights in order to stand in solidarity with Jesus and through others who are dis-enfranchised from mainstream society. It may also mean that I am rejected by many individuals and perhaps even all institutions. It could even mean that I lose my life in this world. That’s OK. As my life has unfolded, particularly over the past two decades, I am realizing little by little, that all the greatest things in life – the sweetness of prayer, the freedom of fasting, the contemplation of the mysteries of creation, and the deep joys of unselfish love – are not only free but are life-giving in a way that nothing I can purchase with fame or fortune can be. As I learn this way of the cross I rely on Christ’s counsel that as I lose my life for his sake, that is,for his over-arching redemption of the world, I gain more and more Life and Love, Light and even Laughter. This season of Lent, will I willingly give up my ‘rights’, and unflinchingly take up the challenge of the cross, no matter how heavy, how hard, how uncomfortable, it is for me, and follow Christ Jesus? Holy Spirit of Jesus, teach me how to deny myself, take up my cross and follow you.
Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him. (Deuteronomy 3:19)
Listen and attend with the ear of your heart.
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Soli ad gloriam Dei
Beverly Illauq lives in Kemptville, Ontario, where she greets each morning by seeking the Gospel Mystery of the Day - the Word of the Lord for direct and practical application to the specific challenges & joys of the day.