I have been contemplating on Monday’s Gospel Readings. The Lord told us to, “Clothe the naked, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, give drink to the thirsty, etc.” (Matthew 25:31-46) This all seems easy enough and most of us are willing to do these things. What about the “harder things Christ calls us to do?” What is our reaction to these? Do these things go against our very nature?
These are things I thought about myself, and I will only apply these to myself. Some of you may not struggle with this, but in all honesty I do. (I know I said I would be back on Wednesday but I have things I have to do for Mom tomorrow:>)
“Follow Me” - In my own nature I like to be a leader. I like to be in control of my own life, and I must admit at times, the lives of others. So to “follow” Someone goes against my very nature. It is hard to follow in the path of another. Yet, this is what the Lord calls me to do, to “follow His path.” I do not think I do that easily and maybe at times, not even willingly.
“Do not lie” - Lying is not a huge issue for me, unless…………..humilation is going to come into play with the truth. It is hard for me to tell the truth when I know I am going to have “egg” all over my face. My gut response is “lie my way out of this,” or “maybe just tell a half truth.” My very nature does not digest “humiliation.” My nature would rather break one of God’s commandments, then to “have egg on my face.”
“Lay down my life for a friend” - “Uh Jesus, come on surely not!!! I love my friends and all, but are they truly worth my life?” I do not even want to die because I have to, much less “lay my life down for a friend!” All I know is “life on earth.” It seems like I have been here since the beginning of creation, as I remember nothing else. To die, is taking me “way out of my comfort zone!” So why in the world would I want to “offer my life for someone elses?”
“Love my enemies” - Well this one works really well for me! A person is my “enemy” which means they are not my “friend.” Which means they do not like me. Which means they will gossip and slander me. Turn their face from me if they meet me on the street. They may even try to hurt me. “Love them????” It is very hard to love someone who “hates me.” That is not in my nature at all.
“Be Christ-like” - “Oh yes Lord, I will.” “Oh wait a minute Lord, that means the “Day of the Cross” at times in my life.” “Let’s see, being spit upon, beaten, drug through a street, carrying my cross.” “That also means saying “Father Your will be done.” ”Give me some time to think about it, and I will get back to You.” Makes you kind of want to run in the other direction doesn’t it? Along with the joy, comes total surrender of my will and sufferings. What will I do without my blessed “will?”
I will end with these, though I thought of many more. My point is this: These things and many more are why being a “Christian” has to be done through our own “free will.” This is why God cannot impose it upon us. He cannot make us choose this way of life. To me He cannot, because it goes against all of our logic, as we have to believe in and of things that we cannot feel, see, or touch. We are called to do things which in our nature are truly not there to do. We would “resent” God greatly. These things are not in our nature, because our nature is “self-serving.” If God made us do these things, it would even be more of a “struggle” then it is. This is why we need to pray for the “grace of conversion” for ourselves daily.
God Bless, SR