A few months ago, thirteen friars, including myself, made solemn vows. We offered everything to God, including all our possessions. But before the big day, a few friends and family members made some startling suggestions. Some counseled me to keep money stored away, just in case. Others asked about possible escape routes, again, just in case. Essentially, they implied that I should get a ‘prenup’ with God.
Their suggestions were rather insulting, but they were also revealing. They revealed humanity’s uncertainty about God. Can we trust Him with our whole lives? Will He always provide for us? Or do we keep our distance and holler, “we want prenups”?
Wondrously, God does not deal with us as we do with Him. He doesn’t doubt us. Christ, the Divine Bridegroom, betrothed the Church, His Bride, without any prenups, qualifications, conditions, or safety nets. He betrothed her while knowing perfectly all her past, present, and future faults, sins, and scandals, from certain Renaissance popes to unfaithful priests to breakaway heretics. Many can recite the failings of the Church’s members, but Christ’s fidelity outdoes any such failings.
Psalm 117 puts it simply:
Praise the LORD, all nations!
Extol him, all peoples!
For great is his steadfast love toward us;
and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.
Praise the LORD!
God’s commitment to us can heal our hesitancy to commit to Him. His trust in us mends our doubts in Him. For Jesus is an ‘all-in’ lover, and He draws us to reciprocate. If I laid down my life for Him, it’s only because He already laid down His for me.
Surrendering our escape routes and conditions, let us echo St. Paul’s ‘all-in’ response to Christ’s friendship:
Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him. (Phil 3:7-9)
Image: Ready For Adventure, by Paul Gilmore