What profit is there for someone to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself.
Day 2: Thursday after Ash Wednesday – Luke 9:25
What profit is there for someone to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself? – Luke 9:25
On day two of the Lenten journey we are, once again, focused and challenged on turning away from worldly things: worldly success, wordly desires, wordly ideas. While that may sound enticing and even noble, it is anything but easy. We live our lives in the world. We are human. We don’t really know any other way, unless we choose The Way. When we do that, when we follow Jesus, everything around us changes. We are no longer worried about gaining the “world” and all its temporal worldy things. Rather, we become fixated on wanting to gain everlasting life in Heaven. We stop putting the focus on ‘self’ and, in the process, discover the very self we have been searching for since the day we were born. We cannot know God, we cannot know ourselves, if we are following the roadmap the world sets before us. It is only when we throw away the world’s map — the world’s ways — and tap into the Divine’s directions that have been preprogrammed into each one of us so that we can navigate our way successfully through this life and into the eternal one.
Today’s Gospel reminds us in fairly blunt terms that the Way will require suffering. Discipleship comes at a price, and that is certainly not the way of our world. According to the world’s standards, suffering and success cannot co-abide. But that is exactly where God invites us — onto the pathway of carrying the Cross and to the victory. He is inviting us today to see things in a different way, in His way. A way that creates a brand new set of directions … and thus leads to a brand new (and better!) way forward.
Day 2 Lenten Meditation
Does today’s Gospel message spark a little discomfort? Jesus’ admonition that we take up our cross daily can be challenging. What would it feel like to lose our life for Jesus (maybe not literally but in other ways)? What would that require of us? It would probably require some radical change in routine and in attitude: Put away the smartphone and dial instead into prayer; turn off the TV and turn in to prayer instead; skip the trip to the mall or sporting event and focus instead on building up the Kingdom in our hearts, in our homes, in the world outside our windows. Considering the many troubles in our world today, it may seem like what we do wouldn’t really make a difference. But each one of us is called to do just that! To be the ‘salt of the earth and light on the hill’ for the entire world. If we start where we are, we can create a shift that will echo out into the universe. To state it even better: When we do our part, God promises to do His.
Father Almighty, give us the courage to carry our cross. Help us to view suffering not as empty pain, as the world does, but as the pathway to a deeper understanding of You and our total dependance on You. May this Lent be a time of fervent prayer and real self-denial. A time that truly transforms our desires of the soul to be more closely united to Your will and to the heart of Your Son Jesus. Amen.
Today’s suggested Penance
*Offer your day for the intentions of another person whose name you keep in mind all day.
“How sweet the presence of Jesus for the longing, harassed soul! It is instant peace, and balm to every wound” – Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.