Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself (ἀπαρνησάσθω ἑαυτὸν) and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life (ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ, his soul) 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)

What does the Lord mean, when He calls me to this “denial” of my “self” and the “loss” of my very “life” or “soul”? He means, turn away from, and “lose” the self-centered, God-less “self” that you are in your own head, according to your own lights, so you can find, in His light, the “self” that God has envisioned, according to your vocation and purpose.

Today let me re-connect with God’s grace, in heartfelt prayer, asking God for wisdom. Let me turn away from the bondage and burdens of merely-human self-will, and embrace the “easy yoke” of the cross-carrying journey on which I am not alone, but in and with Christ. His “yoke” is “easy,” as distinct from mine, and His “burden” is “light” (Mt 11: 30). Thy will be done with me today, O Lord. Amen!

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