"Whoever finds his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:39
What is the difference between finding one’s life and losing one’s life for the sake of God? Doesn’t “finding one’s life” seem more appealing than losing one's life even for the sake of God? How can Jesus' words be appealing to a person who lives in today's "take charge of your life" culture?
“Finding one’s life” can be taken as meaning that I am the one who decides what my life is going to be like, I chart the course and go about trying to make that life a reality. That is the American way of thinking – freedom to be what I want to be. But as a believer in a God who is more committed to me than the best of parents, shouldn't I bring God into the process of figuring out how I should live my life and where it should lead me?
GOD’S PLAN FOR US
God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created us to make us share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to us. He calls us to seek him, to know him, to love him with all our strength. He calls together all of us, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through his Son, he invites us to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life. Prologue, Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) (1994)
That is the first paragraph of the Catholic Catechism - the sum and substance of what we as Catholics say we believe. Taking time to think about it and digest it can lead us to a deeper understanding of what our lives are all about and what leads us to the fullness of life we are capable of living. Do we truly seek this or are we settling for something less enjoyable and less good for us and the people around us?
Here are some suggestions for pondering this paragraph of the CCC Prologue sentence by sentence.
“God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself”: If God is so infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, why would he have created the universe and all that is in it? Why would he create you and me? Are we, God and all there is connected? How? Why?
“in a plan of sheer goodness freely created us to make us share in his own blessed life”: Do I believe that this is God’s plan or do I think God had something else in mind? What does it mean to “share in God’s own blessed life?” And “at every time and in every place, God draws close to us”: If I do believe this, can I (should I) spend a few minutes, perhaps with my eyes closed, letting myself be aware of God’s presence within me and around me and tell God how I feel about His sharing of His own blessed life with me?
In the above, I posed questions to deepen understanding of the CCC Prologue’s first two sentences. Do the same with the rest of the Prologue paragraph’s sentences, pondering them in the presence of God and talking to God about your thoughts, concerns and questions. (I close my eyes because it helps me eliminate distractions. If this doesn't work for you, do whatever works for you.)
“God calls us to seek him, to know him, to love him with all our strength.”: ___________
“God calls together all of us, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church.”: ___________
“To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior.”: ___________
“In his Son and through his Son, he invites us to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.”: ___________
Sister Loretta Fernandez RSM
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) can be found at http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/index.cfm on the official website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops which is an assembly of the hierarchy of the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands who jointly exercise certain pastoral functions on behalf of the Christian faithful of the United States. “The purpose of the Conference is to promote the greater good which the Church offers humankind, especially through forms and programs of the apostolate fittingly adapted to the circumstances of time and place. This purpose is drawn from the universal law of the Church and applies to the episcopal conferences which are established all over the world for the same purpose.” usccb.org/About