(January 1)

Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any man wants to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?” (Mt 16: 24-26)

The Lord wants me to live, rather than just exist. Because my existence is arbitrary, as far as my will is concerned, while truly living is a matter of my free choice. And He dignifies every “me” born into existence with the freedom of choosing between the two. When I choose to cling on to “my” life, pursuing it in this “whole world” on my very own, outside of Him, then I end up “lost” in a daily rat-race of mere and meaningless existence. And this is true, regardless of how much or how little I’m managing to “gain” of this “whole world.”

But when I choose to surrender self-reliance and join the cross-carrying Way, following Christ in His kind, and not our kind, of “race,” I become open and privy to the creative flow of energies that is Life in communion with our Creator. This adventure, up His holy mountain, is where I truly “find” my life, as it is meant to be according to God’s vision of it for me. And I find it is worth living, nay, worth celebrating, regardless of the difficulties or even tragedies of the Way. This is why it rings true to me, something I recently heard a famous psychologist say in an interview: “I don’t think that we seek happiness. I think that we seek a meaning deep enough to sustain us through tragedy.”

So “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebr 12: 1b-2) Glory be to Him.