He said to him,
And leaving everything behind,
he got up and followed Him.
Day Four of Lent: Saturday after Ash Wednesday Prayer and Meditation – Luke 5
He said to him [Levi], “Follow Me.” And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed Him -Lk 5:28.
Today’s Lenten Reflection
Follow Me. Simple yet powerful and challenging words. That short statement by Jesus not only promises comfort but eternal life for those who follow. Imagine for a moment you are completely lost in the wilderness when out of the blue you hear Jesus say follow Me. O what a relief! Now if you were familiar with His voice, you would instantly and eagerly follow. You would feel safe and grateful. But the truth is, many souls are unfamiliar with His voice and so when it comes are unsure and oftentimes reject it … only to become further lost.
Trusting a divine nudge or call requires a leap of faith. In a Godless culture, one that works overtime to convince you His voice doesn’t matter, this call can be intimidating and confusing. In light of this, as in all divine calls, blind faith is needed. We must surrender our own self-reliance and trust in Him even if we don’t have all the answers. Then with every step forward, we must continue to build that trust (faith!) by continuing to learn about our faith. Make no mistake, in order to strengthen faith once we’ve stepped out in faith requires learning our faith. We must go deeper. We cannot stay stagnant in what we think we know.
Jesus Christ promises to lead every step of the way. He will teach us everything we need to know through Tradition, Scripture, and Church teaching. Because of His goodness and mercy, He is more than patient with us as we grow. But the fact remains, we must do our part; we must be willing to step out in faith daily and continue to learn and grow in our faith.
No, the way of Jesus is not easy. It is called the “narrow path” for a reason. But without a doubt, His way is the only way. Fortunately for us, we can never out-give or out-love Jesus. When we do something for Him, when we answer His call and follow Him, there is a massive payoff in our lives. Supernatural blessings and peace abound … and not only in this world but also in the one to come.
Reflect upon the story you read in Scripture when Jesus first called Levi (Matthew). Upon hearing His call, Levi immediately left everything behind and followed Him. What a bold and courageous move! Did Levi know exactly what was going to happen by doing so? Of course not. By working with God’s grace, Levi threw caution to the wind and stepped out in faith. He could have said, “No, I’m too busy” or “that means I’d have to give up this or that” or “I need all the answers first” but he didn’t. Levi knew in his heart that following Jesus was the only way and the most important decision he could make. And because of this faith, we are still talking about and emulating Levi’s faith today.
Think for a moment about how often you follow your own worldly desires rather than Jesus’. We often murmur, “Not now, Jesus, maybe later.” But how are we so sure later will ever come? We are not promised tomorrow; we are only promised right now. When Jesus called Levi to follow Him, He called him to follow right that minute regardless of what was going on in his life. And that is exactly what we are called to do today.
On this fourth day of Lent, are you ready to get up from whatever you are doing and follow Jesus without reserve? Your heart may say Yes! but what does your head say? If you are still making excuses in your mind, bring it to Jesus and pray for the grace to overcome any doubt, hesitancy, or fear you have. The decision to follow Him without delay is eternally worth every sacrifice.
Day 4 Lenten contemplation
Think about the last time you drove in an unfamiliar place with lots of twists, turns, and no street lights. A bit unnerving, right? This is how life is. And Jesus is our unfailing Light and compass. The next time you feel uncertain in life, trust in Jesus knowing that He knows the perfect way for you and wants nothing more than to guide you. God knows we cannot lead ourselves; we haven’t the faintest idea what will happen an hour from now let alone our entire future. Thus, we were never expected to lead ourselves. Therefore, Jesus is asking us today to humble ourselves and to follow Him. He alone knows all things and is the only One who leads directly to the Promised Land.
Our Father, healing physician as You are, lead us on this Lenten journey by revealing what is at the center of Your will for us. Give us the grace to allow You to occupy fully the place of our hearts as You grant us the courage to follow only You toward everlasting peace and joy. We ask You today, Lord, to be patient with us when we resist or falter along the way. We want to follow but we get scared. Continue to walk with us and be our guiding Light. We pray this all in Your good and holy Name, Amen.
Today’s suggested Penance
Visit a homebound person or someone you know who is lonely. If you cannot visit with them physically, call them and reassure them that they are not alone.
“Love takes up where knowledge leaves off” – St. Thomas Aquinas.