Thursday, February 23, 2012
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it." (Matthew 16:24-25)
Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (Matthew 16:24). What is this "self"? It is our thoughts, feelings, self-image, and world view. Jesus added, "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it" (Matthew 16:25). That is, he will find eternal life, the Christ-life, welling up within.
Faith is not just the acceptance of abstract propositions about God; it is the total surrender of ourselves to God. In baptism, our false self is put to death and the victory won by Christ is placed at our disposal. The dynamic set off in baptism is meant to increase continuously during our chronological lives and lead to the experience of the risen life of Christ within us. In the Christian view, death is thus an integral part of living. Dying to the false self is the movement from a lower form of life to a higher one; from a lower state of consciousness to a higher state of consciousness; from a weak faith to a faith that is strong, penetrating, and unifying.
Participation in the life of Christ means coming to know and love the person of Jesus. The humanity of Christ is our starting point and the door into his divinity. Jesus said, "I am the door of the sheepfold. If anyone enters by me, he shall go in and out and find pasture" (John 10:7-9). We enter through the knowledge and love of Christ's humanity into the sheepfold of his divinity, where he invites us to rest in oneness of spirit. The new person that comes to birth in that deep interior rest manifests Christ in the place and time in which he or she lives. ~Excerpted from the book The Heart of the World, by Fr. Thomas Keating, OCSO
Posted by The Hermit at 6:14 AM