We chose to live or we chose to die! Think about it, every choice every day is either to be buzzard bait or joyfully alive in Christ! The Gospel writer Mark states it like this: “For what shall it profit a man, if he should gain the whole world, and lose his soul? [Mk. 8:36] It seems as though life goes by very fast and to actually take a moment and size up each and every choice seems impossible. But, that is part of the problem. Is our life so busy because we have haphazardly chosen so many distractions? Have we been caught up in the pursuit of unhappiness?
Something has to give! When our schedules are so jammed packed, we tend to prioritize our energy at what seems to be our most clear choices for our near future. We easily forget that we are only here for a short time and tomorrow may not come. Did we make the most of our day or squander our opportunity to draw near to the One who loves? Did we lovingly react to all the people we encountered today or gripe and complain about them?
Just how do we do that? He said to them, “Whosoever is willing to follow after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and keep on following Me. [Mk. 8:34] Deny myself means that no matter what a bad day I have had, no matter what afflictions I am nursing, no matter what is storming out of control in my life, I love you first and look past my fleshy distractions. My salvation depends on my unselfishness and His grace. Elder Porphyrios states: “God gives us His Grace, when we are humble.”
Making “life” in Christour only priority takes work. It takes an increase in humility as we pull the weeds out of our gardens. “Increasing self-criticism is the sign of increasing humility. Indeed, there is no clearer sign.” (The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Step Four, On Obedience) More of Him, less of me! How can I be a blessing today!
I pray that you and I will struggle in this conversion and become a better icon of the One who died on the cross for us. And in that process, we will cease being stinky buzzard bait!
Fr. Gabriel Weller 4-4-21