Monday, May 23, 2016

We Have Given Up Everything

Peter Paul Rubens [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday of the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

By Melanie Rigney

Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Like obedient children, do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance but, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, Be holy because I am holy.  (1 Peter 1:13:16)

The Lord has made known his salvation. (Psalm 98:2a)

Peter began to say to Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.” (Mark 10:28-31) 

Lord, I am a coward. Show me what I must give up to follow today… not tomorrow or next month or next year. Hold my hand to guide me. 

“We have given up everything and followed you.”

Peter surely believed that. Of course, he still had his wife, not to mention his mother-in-law. He still had his brother Andrew, and his frenemies, the sons of Zebedee and the others. And yet—he had given up so much. His livelihood. His time.

And yet… Peter would give up so much more. His self-loathing for denying Jesus three times. His literalness. His way of attempting to take charge without being a servant leader as the Master was. His very life.

Consider just a few examples of other saints who thought they had given up plenty… and then were called to give more:
  • Katherine Drexel had considered the religious life in her teens, but then decided she couldn’t part with the luxuries befitting a Drexel, regardless of the philanthropy she and her family had shown. But when she asked the pope to send missionaries to the United States to help Native Americans, he suggested she become a missionary herself. She prayed over it… then followed.
  • Frances Xavier Cabrini, frail though she was, believed she had a vocation to be a missionary to China. The pope, cognizant of the dire physical and spiritual conditions of Italians who had recently moved to the United States, told her she was not to go to the East, but to the West. She prayed over it… then followed.
  • Marie Guyart was widowed with a twelve-year-old son, living with family members when she felt the call to become an Ursuline nun. She prayed over it… then followed, even though her heart must have been heavy as her son shouted outside the convent for his mother’s return.
Sometimes, what God asks of us seems so huge as to be almost unbearable—almost being the critical word, of course, for with Him, the large and the small are possible. We delude ourselves when we get too comfortable in our faith and believe we are ready for whatever life throws at us. Without Him, girding up the loins of our minds is next to impossible. With Him, we can triumph over anything.

Don’t take credit for anything you accomplish today. Give up the praise and sense of accomplishment and pride… and follow.

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