choose life

Feb 15, 2024

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I have set before you life and death.
Choose life, then,
that you and your descendants may live, by loving the Lord, your God,
heeding his voice, and holding fast to him.

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“If anyone wishes to come after me, they must deny themselves
and take up their cross daily and follow me.

I remember turning up the driveway of Holy Cross College Mosgiel on the day I entered the seminary and seeing a large marble statue of Jesus carrying his cross heading out the gate.

The statue became a significant touchstone for me over the next six years. Thanks to inspiring and challenging teachers and an environment of robust formation I grew to appreciate that a cross was not an obstacle to life, but instead a reminder that every choice in life brings a mix of joy and struggle, hope and anxiety.

It is not possible for a human who is seeking to live abundantly to avoid the cross. Those who seek to follow Christ into the eternal life of resurrection cannot avoid the path he walked to Calvary.

Today’s readings present both the cross and the option to make a choice between life and death in every moment.

It’s easily to slip into simply doing what we want to do and avoiding what we don’t want to do.  Such an existence is nowhere near as satisfying as embracing life fully as an adventure, even when it means challenge, uncertainty, and cross-carrying.

A happy and rich life is not achieved by avoiding pain and suffering. An abundant life is found by the one who seeks to live fully, knowing that the life suffering and death of Jesus is the pathway to a more abundant life than humans had ever previously imagined both now and eternally.

Take a moment now to call to mind a burden you are carrying today, perhaps a worry about yourself or someone you love, maybe secret burden of suffering or sin that gets you down.

This is a cross.

Instead of ignoring the reality, now see this cross as your personal connection with the suffering of Jesus.  When we are honest about our suffering our stress and our anxiety we are in touch with our vulnerability. We become humble and are able to ask Jesus for the strength we need. We also become more open to the full beauty of human friendship with much greater openness and honesty. We discover that every person, however strong and successful they appear, has a share of suffering.

Take a moment to remember this often over the day ahead, and remember to choose life especially while carrying your cross.

 

4 Comments

  1. I am interested in teaching and where I have knowledge I enjoy passing on that knowledge. I also have experienced insight about something just because it was presented in a different manner. I may have known that fact but its true significance had not “hit home”. I thank you Father for the insight your comments have made on me today.

    Reply
  2. While I recognize that people have difficulties in life that would be considered suffering, I would be simply falsifying.my minor difficulties if I called them suffering. Therefore, what I intend to concentrate on this lent is how blessed I am and developing gratitude. At the same time look to others in need and offer to help carry the cross they are carrying if they want me to share the load.

    Reply
  3. The Lord indeed blessed Theresa, if she has no suffering or difficulties of any significance in her life. What she intends is indeed what the Lord is calling her to do. We should all develop gratitude for what the Lord has done in our lives and for what he will do to help alleviate our sufferings and difficulties if we put our faith in him. Even if we have crosses in our own lives, we should stand ready to help others with theirs if we can.

    Reply
  4. Thank you to both Teresa and Father John. Great insights.
    Anne

    Reply

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