Tuesday, May 29, 2012

We Have Given up Everything

Every Christian is called to direct every action of their lives by the love of God. Everything we do should be done for the sake of the Gospel. This may mean that we suffer persecution. Our families may dislike us. Our friends might leave us. People might mock us or just simply ignore us. To this Jesus says, "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." In this present age, we will receive more than what we lost.

Another way this is accomplished is through the life of penance. Penance for our sins is a habit that most of us avoid. We dislike discomfort and avoid any sort of pain; however, penance should daily be part of our lives. It's a real way of giving up everything and following the Lord Jesus like St. Peter and the other Apostles. Maybe we're giving up an hour of sleep for a night, maybe taking a cold shower, or fasting from a meal.

Why make these sacrifices? We sacrifice these comforts to the Lord not because they are evil, but it's a way of being holy: entirely set apart for God. It's a way of reminding ourselves that God alone can satisfy our hearts, and these comforts are not God. By doing penance we set ourselves apart from the world, and generously make ourselves available for the Blessed Trinity. Our God is a God who will not be out done in generosity. If you want to see the Lord's blessings—especially the highest of blessings, a union with the Lord Himself, then offer Him your entire self. Hold nothing back. Capture every thought to be directed to God in some way. "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." If we give up our lives, everything that is ours, to the Lord, then even in this life, we will be richly rewarded.

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