Friday, August 9, 2013

Total surrender

Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Does this literally mean I have to lose my life? Many in the early church thought so and craved martyrdom.

I would still answer yes, but in a different sense, as St. Paul tells the Galatians,

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who lives it is Christ who lives in me.

Jesus wants nothing less than all of us. We speak of unconditional love, but are we truly ready for unconditional surrender.

In one of the courses I teach regularly we talk about magisterium, the deposit of faith, etc., and the levels of assent. And when we get to one point the assent called for in Latin is obsequium. Immediately there is a level of discomfort. After all which of us wants to be thought of as obsequious.

The standard definition of obsequious is "obedient or attentive to an excessive degree or servile degree." With humans that is possible, but what an excessive degree of obedience to God look like? Is there any such thing? And as for servile, isn't Servant of God the first step on the road to sainthood, before Blessed and Saint?

Even the word surrender, we just don't like the sound. And yet we are told that in order to save our lives we must surrender to the point of losing our lives.

Most simply put "Thy will be done."