The Cost of Following Christ

Posted by James Hahn on

Wednesday November 6th
The Christian Soul accepts the Cross, c. 1630. Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.

Luke 14:25-33

Often we are presented with the modern idea that Jesus loves each and every one of us no matter what, that He's even okay with our sin. We are presented with the "open arms" Jesus who welcomes all and discriminates against no one and no sin. Yet, so very often we find that the Jesus of the Gospels doesn't match the idea of Jesus in our modern day.

Today's Gospel begins by telling us that a "great multitude" was traveling with Him. Jesus had a "great following" at this time but as often is the case with God, numbers are not what is important. Jesus turns to the crowd and gives a list of requirements for those who may want to continue following Him. If Jesus simply wants everyone to come to Himself, why would He do such a thing? Why would He place "conditions" on discipleship? In fact, three times in the course of 9 verses Jesus says these words, "cannot be my disciple." This is a curious way to speak for someone who is supposed to be open and accepting of everyone.

The truth of the matter is that Jesus is accepting of everyone. He loves each of us equally and totally without reserve, look at the crucifix if you need proof. However, it is we who are not always accepting of Him nor do we always love Him without reserve, look at the crucifix if you need proof.

The Christian life is difficult but it is not impossible. With this Gospel Jesus invites us to stop, take stock of our life, and decide for him. This decision for Him, however, involves total devotion to Him even to the point of putting aside family ties and worldly possessions. He gave up everything for you and asks that you give up everything for Him. It has been said that God is a jealous lover.  He wants you and me totally for Himself.  Let us resolve today to give ourselves totally to Him and help others to do the same.  Let us encourage one another to be true disciples, slowly transforming, through grace, into "other Christs" in His image and likeness.

FROM THE SAINTS - "In this world, let us love everyone, even though he be our enemy; but let us hate him who opposes us on our way to God, though he be our relative.... We should, then love our neighbor; we should have charity towards all - towards relatives and towards strangers - but without separating ourselves from the love of God out of love for them." - Pope Saint Gregory the Great

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How to get better at prayer.
  1. Set a prayer appointment - Set a time on your calendar each day to meet and speak with God.
  2. Slowly increase your prayer time. - Don't jump in with an hour right from the get-go.  Build up your "tolerance" so to speak.
  3. Commit - to praying and slowly increasing your prayer time for 30 days.  Mark off the days on your calendar.  If you miss a day, jump right back in, don't give up.
  4. Pray - praying is talking to God, it's spending time with your attention focused on Him.  I enjoy spending time with my children regardless of their level of development.  God is the same way.  Spend time praying as best you can.  Use formal prayers if you want or simply speak in conversation.  Don't forget to listen
  5. Journal - Our newly revised 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations: Guide, Workbook, and Journal walks you through 4 easy steps that will help you go deeper in your prayer life.  It includes 31 days of workbook and journal pages too!
  6. Read other good books about how to pray better - Prayer PrimerDeep Conversion, Deep PrayerTime for GodThe Spiritual Life: A Comprehensive Guide to Catholics Seeking Salvation.
* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...

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