The desire for God is written into every human heart, so we should all have some sense of what Jesus demands of us as His disciples. Maybe that’s why many turn Him down when He calls them to be one, because they fear the weight of their crosses. I wonder how many aspirants in Jesus’ time abandoned the idea altogether when they learned what He required of them, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:27)
Jesus warned us that it would be demanding. He wants us to look hard at what it’ll cost us and consider the suffering that comes with it. He tells us to renounce our possessions and put Him first before our families and even our own lives!
It’s a severe message the Gospel brings, but as St. Paul tells us, we must make every effort to persevere for our salvation and the salvation of others. Fortunately, we learn quickly that material possessions become less important to us the more we hunger for Jesus’ presence.
When we put God before our own families, He sends us the grace to see that He created the ones we love and they are His gifts to us. Without Him we have nothing and that’s why we love Him more; that’s why we love Him first.
In reality, accepting the call is the most difficult part, but Jesus comes at once to give us courage, and each trial leaves us with tremendous strength and even joy. As disciples we put to use all Jesus reveals to us to accept our crosses with patience, speak our faith with courage and to bear witness to it with confidence, even at the cost of our lives.
Such strength should have us repeating the words St. Paul left for us, “Even if I am poured out as a libation upon the sacrificial service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with all of you. In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.” (Philippians 2:17)
With more joy than ever imagined, we push forward as God’s Catechists. Some will think we’ve given up a great deal, but we’re still the same stars, we’re just shining brighter in a world that so desperately needs His light.