“If any one comes to me without hating his father* and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26
* [14:26] Hating his father…: cf. the similar saying in Mt 10:37. The disciple’s family must take second place to the absolute dedication involved in following Jesus (see alsoLk 9:59–62).
I could have started my post today with the fact that I am putting my whole family on notice that they are not the center of my universe, but I am pretty sure there would be some hurt feelings. However, the chances of my dad actually reading this, or it even getting back to him that I posted this are pretty slim. Anyway, as I prepared for leading our communion service tomorrow, I read this reading and was reminded of Saint Ignatius “First Principle and Foundation”…
The human person is created to praise, reverence, and serve God Our Lord, and by doing so, to save his or her soul.
All other things on the face of the earth are created for human beings in order to help them pursue the end for which they are created.
It follows from this that one must use other created things, in so far as they help towards one’s end, and free oneself from them, in so far as they are obstacles to one’s end.
To do this, we need to make ourselves indifferent to all created things, provided the matter is subject to our free choice and there is no other prohibition.
Thus, as far as we are concerned, we should not want health more than illness, wealth more than poverty, fame more than disgrace, a long life more than a short one, and similarly for all the rest, but we should desire and choose only what helps us more towards the end for which we are created.
To me, this “First Principle and Foundation” that I first read in the “Consoling the Heart of Jesus” retreat book by Father Michael Gaitley, the director of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, is the heart of the gospel reading today. It was specifically the last verse of the gospel that prompted me to look up the “First Principle and Foundation” and share it here. (Luke 14:33) In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.
As for my dad, if this does somehow get back to him, I hope he knows that it is my sincere hope that he someday comes to a full knowledge of the forgiveness and mercy of God and we are both caught up in the blessedness of the beatific vision that is an eternity sharing in the divinity of our Lord. For me, that means that I continue to struggle through this world bringing the good news of the plan of salvation to as many people as possible, both by the words I choose to share and the life that I live everyday in the presence of Jesus in the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation.
I hope this post finds you struggling to do the same…God bless you!