Tuesday, March 26, 2013

journey for absolution

Today's Guest Post by My Sister

Often I catch myself thinking or acting like my life is a story about me. I discover I have fallen into assuming that I am the protagonist in my own saga, and my family and friends are the supporting cast. This story has a plot, a climax, and a (currently unknown) resolution, all comfortingly focused on me. Not that I don’t think God is the author, but still, I find myself believing I am playing the lead.

Christianity, however, tells a different story—one in which this life is only half the tale, in which God is the main character. The main action of the story involves His saving work, His trials and His joys. It concerns His ideals and His people. It is human nature that we constantly forget that we are not at the center of things, for it is too humbling for us to entertain the fact that we are not the protagonist of a motion picture but rather one “extra” barely glimpsed in a crowd scene.

In the Gospel today, Christ instructs the Pharisee to do what might make us a little uncomfortable. He seems to be telling us to invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind into the closest circle of our lives, and to spend our time with them rather than the ones we love. I believe the fact that we tend to think of our lives as our own story contributes to our unease at Christ’s instructions. Naturally, if we are the main character, we will want to be surrounded by our own particular supporting cast. But if we see ourselves as being supporting characters of the Lord, there is nothing odd about spending our time, our money, and our food with those who we are not “invested” in, so to speak. If we are a true supporting character, then everyone, being loved by the Lord, also becomes one of our loves. His concerns become ours; our time becomes His.

In the passage following today’s Gospel, Christ tells His listeners: “If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Lk. 14:26). This is the message at the heart of Christ’s words in today’s Gospel, and it is a message we can hear again and again without taking it to heart.

It is effortless to say that we should stop considering ourselves to be the focus of our lives and become disciples of the Lord, but it is a monumental task actually to do so. Without the grace of God, we will inevitably remain immersed in our own lives, surrounding ourselves with the comfort of our friends, brothers, sisters, or relatives, and neglecting the work of God. Yet Christ calls us to participate in God’s story, so let us pray to Him for the grace to follow.

Rebecca Roden, ND ‘12

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