Throughout my novitiate, I heard many priests say that as religious we must be willing to die for Christ every day for our salvation and the salvation of others. That can sound strange at first, but when we meditate on the passion of Christ and offer up our daily lives in gratitude for Christ’s dying on the cross for our salvation, the reciprocity of Christ’s love is brought to fruition.
There are many ways we can do this. For example, when one receives the Eucharist and the sacrament of confession frequently, he receives sacramental graces that unite him closer to Christ. As religious we accept advice from our brothers when they see our shortcomings. We do penance and make acts of mortification. We pray and engage in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Doing all of these things draws us into the daily death to which Christ calls us. God will continue to draw us into the mystery of his love by giving us his grace when we make these daily acts of dying to the world. When we realize this and submit ourselves to this love, the grace we receive leaves us with a sense of peace and fulfillment.
Unfortunately our culture today tells us the opposite. We should live for the world, it says, and clutter our minds and hearts with temporal goods that are vain and superficial at best. In the daily temptations of the world, I often find it helpful to remember Mark 8:36: “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” We can choose to live for Christ or for the world, but the Church has shown through her saints and many holy men and women that the ultimate good that Christ leads us to seek rests in him and nowhere else.
Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, OP (used with permission)