Monday, June 22, 2015

How Narrow the Gate

By Melanie Rigney

After Lot had left, the Lord said to Abram: “Look about you, and from where you are, gaze to the north and south, east and west; all the land that you see I will give to you and your descendants forever. I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth; if anyone could count the dust of the earth, your descendants too might be counted. Set forth and walk about in the land, through its length and breadth, for to you I will give it.” (Genesis 13:14-17)

He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.  (Psalm 15:1b)

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

Alexandru Logel/Shutterstock
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
—Final stanza, “The Road Not Taken,” Robert Frost

You kind of wonder about God sometimes. In today’s first reading, He tells Abram all about how blessed he’s going to be and numerous his descendants will be. Read that in tandem with the Gospel reading and your first reaction might be, for what? Seriously, what’s the point of all those descendants if so few are going to find the gate to the Lord? What kind of a loving God does that to His people?

Perhaps the better question is what kind of people do that to a loving God… and themselves. You see, it’s not God who makes the road to life so difficult. We do that to ourselves. We seek immediate gratification over patience and faithfulness. We embrace the temptations of the evil one, fully recognizing them for what they are. We figure God will understand… or we’ll make up for it later. If rationalization were a true gift, most of us would be abundantly blessed.

Why not take the road the Lord has so clearly marked for us, even as we and He acknowledge it is the one less traveled by? Why muddy up the path with darkness and fear and regret? Why make the journey more arduous and lonely than it has to be? We might not have as many companions on the constricted road… but we will have the One we need.

Spend one hour today fully conscious of the choices you make, from the way you interact with family, friends, or colleagues to the way you drive or conduct yourself on public transit to the thoughts you let enter your mind. Keep the narrow gate in view.

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