What profit is there for someone to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself.
Second Day of Lent: 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 and even wordly worries. While that may sound noble, it is anything but easy. We are human and thus live in the world. Therefore, we don’t really know any other way of being … unless of course we choose another way. What other way is there you ask? The infallible way of Jesus Christ. When we choose the way of Christ, which is contrary to the ways of this world, everything around us — the way we see the world, our desires, what we believe we need, how we will live, etc. — will change also. We will no longer be worried about gaining the “world” and all its temporal things. Rather, we will become supernaturally inspired to chase the things of Heaven instead. In so doing, we will stop putting the focus on ourselves and discover that the very self and purpose we have been searching for is rooted in the way which is contrary to the world — the way of Christ.
The truth is, we cannot know God, ourselves or our purpose if we are following the roadmap the world has set before us. Divine revelation is only revealed when we throw away the world’s map — the ways of this world — and tap into the Divine direction that has been preprogrammed into each one of our hearts. If trusted, this divine compass promises to navigate us successfully through not only this life but straight into the eternal one as well.
Today’s Gospel reminds us in fairly blunt terms that the way of Christ is the way of the Cross, and the way of the Cross requires suffering. True discipleship comes at a cost, and that is certainly not the way of the world. According to the world’s standards, suffering and success cannot co-exist. But that is exactly where God invites us — onto the pathway of carrying our cross, our sufferings, trials and tribulations — with a humble and grateful spirit. Ultimately, this way leads only to the way of victory.
As you enter deeper into the lenten desert, the Lord is inviting you to see things in a different way — His way; a way that creates a brand new set of directions and leads to a brand new (and better!) life … here and in the one to come.
Second Day of Lent 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 really give up our way for Jesus’ way? To lose our life for Him — maybe not literally but in other ways? What would that require of us? It will most certainly require some radical change in routine and in attitude. We will have to follow a different “way” than what we had been. We might, for example, begin to put away our smartphones and dial into prayer instead; turn off the television and go sit in adoration instead; skip the trip to the mall or sporting event and focus on Kingdom building efforts in our community.
Considering the many troubles in our world, it may seem like what we do today won’t really make a difference. But each one of us is called to do just that. To pick up our cross, go out into the word, and be the ‘salt of the earth and light on the hill’ for the entire world. If we start right where we are, we can create a shift that will echo out into the universe. Said another way: 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 promise to keep in mind all day long.
“How sweet the presence of Jesus for the longing, harassed soul! It is instant peace, and balm to every wound” – Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.