“Whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.”

Today’s Feast of Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr, provides us the opportunity to read from John 12 (24-26).  Jesus talks to His disciples about the necessity of a grain of wheat dying in order to produce fruit.  Similarly, He says, we must hate our life here in order to gain eternal life.  Jesus closes by saying that those who serve Him must follow Him and then they will be honored by the Father.  Jesus presents an immense challenge to us in this passage.  We are called to “hate” this life.  No mincing of words here or softening of the message.  There is no earthly thing we are to cling to that would in any way obstruct our relationship with God.  Certainly sin and vice are out of the question.  But even good things, when overdone or overly indulged in, can draw us away from the Lord.  How much out of our comfort zone are we willing to go to follow Jesus and serve Him by serving others?  Are we willing to detach from everything we know and are used to if the Lord asks us to do this to more perfectly do His will?  Can we accept the possibility of persecution, suffering, or even death for the Name (cf. Acts 5:41) if this is what we are called to?  Consideration of life eternal can be set aside by our day to day challenges in this life or pushed aside by our desire to maintain certain sins and vices.  We are called to remember that our true place is with God and our permanent home is meant to be heaven.  Let us ever remain cognizant of this truth through frequent, ideally constant, union with God in our lives.

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