“They will gain great freedom of mind who, for Your Name, will enter upon the narrow way and put aside worldly care.” (IC 3,10,5) | “If we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him.” (2 Tim 2:11-12a)

|The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter X: ”How it is Sweet to Serve God by Despising the World” (third entry)

Again, Kempis’s focus is on those who have chosen the vowed religious life. But it is really a message to all Christians, a universal call to holiness (see here). Keeping on the “narrow way” (see Mt 7:13-14) is the greatest freedom since God, the divine Creator, has the instruction manual for lives lived properly to meet their purpose and end.

|Today’s First Reading: 2 Tm 2:8-15

As we continue to hear Paul’s second letter to his disciple Timothy, he implores the purveyors of the Gospel message to persevere in their evangelization efforts, even as he does as a prisoner in chains. Stay true to the cause and the message for the sake of others, he says, “so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus.”

|Reflection

Paul speaks of persevering with and dying with Jesus. To “enter upon the narrow way and put aside worldly care,” as Kempis puts it, requires perseverance and dying to self, does it not? When we say, with our Lord, “not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42), even in our greatest trials and temptations (remember, Jesus said these words in his Agony in the Garden), we free ourselves of the shackles of worldly concerns in order to “live with” and “reign with” Jesus.

It is something of a paradox that the more narrow-minded we are the more attractive the wide path (to destruction) is. We must broaden our perspective to appreciate not only the goods of this world and our God-given mission in it, but also to never lose clear sight of our ultimate goal: eternal life in Heaven with the Trinity.

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