As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
When my children request a special treat from my husband, he often says “If you want a treat, then you must go and tell your mother you love her and give her a great big hug.” Yesterday, I was in my room and my son came in, hugged me, and told me he loved me. Taken aback by the random sweetness, I was quickly snapped back into reality when I heard him go back to the living room and say “Dad, I did it. Now can I have my treat?” Conditional love from a three-year- old. But real love, Christian love, is not conditional. It is all-encompassing. It is constant and free from if-then statements. So often as imperfect human beings, we make our love for the Lord an “if-then” or a “yes, but first” statement!
What if-then statements have you given the Lord lately?
—Gretchen Crowder is the Director of Campus Ministry at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Dallas.
First Principle and Foundation
The goal of our life is to live with God forever. God, who loves us, gave us life. Our own response of love allows God’s life to flow into us without limit. All the things in this world are gifts of God, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily.
As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God insofar as they help us develop as loving persons. But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives, they displace God and so hinder our growth toward our goal.
In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice and are not bound by some obligation.
We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God.
Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to God’s deepening his life in me.
—St. Ignatius of Loyola, contemporary version by David Fleming, SJ
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