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  • Immersed in Christ

Commit Your Life to the Lord

February 21, 2017

Tuesday, Week Seven, Year I

Link to Readings: Sirach 2:1-11; Psalm 37; Mark 9:30-37

A once-popular love song begins, “I never promised you a rose garden.” Sirach 2:1-11, however, does. But he is honest about the thorns. To those who “come to serve the Lord” he says, “Prepare yourself for trials.” Good and evil are at war in our world, and in each one’s heart. If you get into the fight, you are going to get hit. Be ready for it.

For in fire gold is tested, and those who are worthy in the crucible of humiliation.

If we “cling to the Lord,” however, and “forsake him not,” he promises, “Your future will be great.” If we persevere. God wins — in the world and in each of us. Ben Sira says, “Look around!”

Study the generations long past and understand. Has anyone hoped in the Lord and been disappointed?

A key to the consolation of the spiritual life is commitment. Just knowing we are “sincere of heart and steadfast” in our determination to grow as a disciple of the Lord is a mystical experience. Where could this determination come from if not grace? And if from grace, then we are responding to a personal call from God. This means we are experiencing God; we are in live, interactive contact with him. He is speaking and we are responding. That is a mystical experience.

Commitment, however, is only realized “in the crucible of humiliation.” We don’t realize we are determined to be faithful until we don’t feel like it any more. When we don’t feel “holy” anymore, because on the emotional level we no longer want to do what we promised, that is humiliating. But it takes this to experience commitment as pure gold.

When this happens we gain a double clarity: we are able to see the difference, first, between our emotions and our choices. Second, between what comes from us and what comes from God.

When our emotions don’t support our will, we simply realize we are fragmented beings. We say with St. Paul “I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched human that I am!” But if we are at war, something in us is fighting for the good. My “bad self” reveals my “good self”!

Paul cries, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?” And he answers, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” By persevering we realize our strength and virtue are not from us alone, but above all from “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” living within us. This is humility. Humility is “to be peaceful with the truth.” [1]

So the first step into discipleship is “Commit your life to the Lord.” Declare yourself a learner — a student, an apprentice — for the sake of becoming a follower of Jesus. That is a very deep, fundamental choice that goes to the roots of our identity. Our Christianity becomes a conscious choice to “come to serve the Lord.” It is not all that common.

A live root branches out. So the decision to enroll as a student in the school of Christ must take visible form in concrete commitments. How will I start? Will I read Scripture? Join a discussion group? Use the sacrament of Reconciliation as a “progress report” for sustaining growth? Read other books? Get to daily Mass? Make the Cursillo? Go on retreat? Take a course? “What,” “When,” and “How” make choices real.

Meditation: Do I really choose to “Commit my life to the Lord?” Why?

[1] Romans 7:23 to 8:2.

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