“Son, abandon yourself and you will find Me.” (IC 3,37,1) | “Nathanael answered him, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.'” (Jn 1:49)

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter XXXVII: “Of a Pure and Entire Resignation of Ourselves to Obtain Freedom of Heart” (first entry)

The opening words of this chapter make for a good introduction to the chapter. Kempis’s nearly continuous call to self-abandonment and worldly detachment are foundational in this work. Later in the chapter, Jesus calls on the disciple to “die to yourself and eternally live with Me.” Yes, that is what a complete focus on God and His will for us ultimately requires and leads to.

|Today’s Gospel reading: Jn 1:45-51

The Gospel for the apostle Bartholomew’s feast fittingly relates the calling of him (here called by his given name, Nathanael) by Jesus through Philip. Philip, just called by Jesus, tracks down Nathanael, telling him that he has found the Messiah. Nathanael is skeptical of a Galilean being the Messiah, but he goes along with his friend. Upon seeing Nathanael, Jesus immediately lauds him as having “no duplicity.” Wondering how Jesus could make such an assessment, Jesus reveals Nathanael’s previous whereabouts which leads the latter to exclaim the words in the headline. Jesus then says that much more amazing things will be revealed to him than this.

|Reflection

With Nathanael’s call, there is a sense of instantaneous conversion from skeptic to wholehearted believer. This man with no guile now was ready to abandon everything to follow his God and king. When we abandon ourselves to the Lord guilelessly, expect major conversions and awesome events — first happening to us, and then to all to whom we spread the Good News by our words and works.

The Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew (1634) by Jusepe de Ribera

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