Thursday, November 01, 2007
Priere Du Jour - Prayer of the Day!!!!
Prayer and Devotions
Up Against the Narrow Gate
by Father James Swanson, LC
Examine your conscience honestly to see if I are saying ‘no’ to Jesus in any aspect of you life.
October 31, 2007
Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" He answered them, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, 'Lord, open the door for us.' He will say to you in reply, 'I do not know where you are from.' And you will say, 'We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.' Then he will say to you, 'I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!' And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, send your Holy Spirit to me to guide me in my prayer. Grant me the grace to do this meditation well and to gain from it all the graces you want to give me. By doing my meditation well, I will be better equipped to follow you throughout the day.
Petition: Lord, grant me the honesty, humility and sincerity to enter by the narrow gate.
1. A Scary Question
This is a scary question: “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” Jesus doesn’t answer the question directly; instead, he gives some advice. It almost looks like Jesus is avoiding the question, as if the answer would be too discouraging. He tries to be encouraging, but at the same time he underlines the difficulty of success. “Strive,” he says, “to enter by the narrow gate.” “Strive” is the key word, since the gate is narrow, and requires sustained effort to enter.
2. A Disturbing Reply
These words — that many will try to enter and fail — are troubling. What percentage? How many? Nowadays, we like exact statistics. Jesus doesn’t say, but we get the impression that it will be more than a few. The possibility of failure is very real. Who will fail? Probably they are the people who don’t take him seriously, the people who don’t try hard enough, the people who love something else more than they love Jesus. This is the reason the Church underlines the importance of detachment from all creatures in order to fill our hearts with God. This is the goal of ascetic life.
3. How Solid Are My Christian Credentials?
Jesus goes on to say that many who think they are doing enough are going to be surprised to find they did not do enough. They think their Christian credentials are solid, but they will be found wanting. They will tell Jesus that they ate and drank with him and that they received communion every Sunday. They will witness to how many times they heard him preach in their streets and how much they contributed to the collection, but that will not be enough. Yet, others who did not seem so good in life will be entering the Kingdom before them. In which group will I find myself? Jesus is warning me: Just because I feel I am doing enough for him doesn’t mean I am going to be in the group to be saved. I need to follow him with as much sincerity and honesty as I am capable of, doing his will and not my own. At the end of my life, the only thing I will take to eternity is the love that I have been able to show for God and for my neighbor.
Conversation with Christ: Dear Jesus, your words are troubling to me. I see how often I fail in what I know I should be doing for you. I see that I cannot reliably guide myself in this matter. Send your Holy Spirit to help me open my eyes to see if I am falling short, before it is too late. Send him to give me the strength to enter by the narrow gate.
Resolution: Today I will examine my conscience honestly to see if I am saying ‘no’ to Jesus in any aspect of my life or if I am letting myself get too comfortable in any aspect of my life. Comfort, especially in the spiritual life, is a sign that I am not “striving to enter by the narrow gate.”