OF GOD – O Lord I come to you with a keen desire to learn how
to respond to your invitation.
He said to him, “Follow
me.” (Lk 5:27)
The only great tragedy in life, is
not to become a saint. (Leon Bloy)
How tough and dangerous it is
to follow those two simple words; “Follow me.”
Especially in the world we live in today when there are more martyrs
than any other time in church history.
Listen to these words of Shahbaz
Bhatti, a Pakistani Catholic politician. “I have been asked to
put an end to my battle, but I have always refused, even at the risk
of my own life. I do not want popularity. I do not want
positions of power. I only want a place at the feet of Jesus.
I want my life, my character, my actions to speak of me and say
that I am following Jesus Christ. This desire is so strong in
me that I consider myself privileged whenever- in my combative effort
to help the needy, the poor, the persecuted Christians of
Pakistan-Jesus should wish to accept the sacrifice of my life.
I want to live for Christ, and it is for Him that I want to
die.” Shortly after this interview he was
assassinated by Taliban gunmen in 2011 outside his mother’s home.
This is the dedication that Jesus
desires of us. Not that he wants us to be martyrs, but
that we can say as Mr. Bhatti did; I want my life, my character,
my actions to speak of me and say that I am following Jesus
Christ. It certainly is not easy. When I look back
at times when I have not spoken out about an injustice, when I have
not witnessed to the Kingdom of God, when I have felt threatened, not
by death but by words, I am put to shame by the
Shahbaz Bhattis of this world.
Spend some time, today, with those
two words. “Follow me”. Think about what it would mean to give
your entire life; your thoughts, feeling, ambitions, relationships,
everything over to Him. Think about those areas that you are
reluctant to give up, that you desire to have control. Pray for
the strength and courage to give those things up to Christ as
greatest tragedy in indeed not to become a saint.
To start that journey we must first respond to that invitation;
“Infuse in me, O Jesus, new strength
to take up more eagerly the course which will lead me to sainthood.
And since nature opposes what is good, I promise to declare a
merciless war against myself. My weapons for the battle will be
prayer, the practice of the presence of God, and silence, But, O my
Love, I will arm myself with sovereign confidence in You, with
patience, humility, conformity to Your divine will, and supreme
diligence. But where shall I find the aid, I need to fight
against so many enemies in such a continual battle? You, my
God, proclaim Yourself my Captain, and raising the standard of Your
Cross, You lovingly say ‘Come, follow me, do not fear.” (St.
Teresa Margaret of the Heart of Jesus.)