Dying to Myself?

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Friday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Mark 8:34-9:1

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” He also said to them, “Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.”


Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, I want to be your authentic disciple. Let me not fear the consequences, but embrace the new life you offer.


Encountering Christ:


  1. Are You Ready to Die to Yourself?: Imagine that Jesus appears and asks, “Are you ready to die to yourself?” Hear him speak those words and let them sink in. What is your immediate reaction? How does faith inform your response? What would that even look like, to die to yourself? Jesus is inviting us to shed any self-seeking motives for our personal glory or comfort and totally commit to building HIS Kingdom. He seeks a heart oriented toward extending his Kingdom through charity in thought, word, and deed, through patience in long-suffering, through faith and hope amidst suffering. In all these things we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him.


  1. One Life and One Chance to Live It!: A common possession in monks’ cells used to be a skull, which reminded them of the fugacity and shortness of life. We are not called to live as hermits away from the world, but immersed in it. Yet, like the monks, we are called to keep before our eyes the precious gift of time in the face of eternity. Time is fleeting and at the end of our life we go to eternity without a knapsack. We will have no place to put our possessions, be they material, or be they immaterial such as fame, leisure, or flattery. We will arrive at the “pearly gates of heaven” with recourse only to how well we loved during our lives. How can I love you more today, Lord?


  1. Jesus and the Kingdom of God: Jesus told his disciples, “Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.” He alluded to establishing the Kingdom in his very person through his Death and Resurrection. We enter that Kingdom when we let God’s loving mercy and grace into our lives, conforming our mind and hearts to Jesus, precisely through the process of “dying to self.”


Conversing with Christ: Jesus, these words are hard to hear and I don’t always know what it should look like to “deny myself, take up my cross, and follow you.”  Help me to be attentive to how you invite me to do this in my daily life, thus participating in the extension of your Kingdom.   


Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will deny an interior movement to act pridefully, vainly, or sensually in order to die to myself and choose to love you.


For Further Reflection: Fr. Robert Barron’s video titles “Seven Deadly Vices and Seven Lively Virtues.”

Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi who is dedicated to spiritual and faith formation through teaching, conferences, writing, and spiritual direction. While serving in Ancient Magdala she wrote Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala.

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