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I Want to Follow Jesus
Feast of Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr
“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, send your Spirit to inflame my heart with the desire to follow you. Strengthen my resolve and grant me vision and courage to follow in the way that best serves and praises you.
- Meet with Jesus: Some Greeks had come up to Jerusalem to worship and approached Philip with the request to see Jesus. Jesus’ reply seems enigmatic and far from hospitable. He replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified,” and then proceeded to tell them the conditions for following him. Why did the Greeks seek Jesus out? Was it Jesus’ authority that they knew would bring them peace? His goodness that invites trust? His firm but gentle way that increases faith in his intention to lead us on the right path? When Philip and Andrew led them into his presence, what an opportunity they had! We also have this opportunity to be in Our Lord’s presence. He waits for us in every tabernacle.
- An Open Heart: So often we go to prayer or approach our life of faith with preconceived ideas of what we would like to tell Jesus. This time, are we willing to meet him with open ears and an open heart? We can ask the Holy Spirit for light to see where our heart is as we approach him in prayer. Jesus says, “He who loves his life will lose it. He who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” The Lord teaches us that our hearts must be set on the things above, on him. All else is a gift or stepping stones to draw nearer to him.
- My Father Will Honor Him: Jesus ended his discourse to the Greeks saying, “If anyone serves me, my Father will honor him.” These are hopeful words and a promise. To be honored has two meanings: to be respected or esteemed, and to receive the fulfillment of a promise. Both allude to a hopeful ending. If we’re faithful, the Father will offer us the place prepared for us. And he will fulfill his promise of salvation. Jesus is the way to receiving the fulfillment of his promise. Do we have the courage to tell him, with great conviction, “I will follow you, Lord”?
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, I want to follow you, despite the cost. Grant me true courage to suffer in patience those little deaths to self implied in following you.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will be attentive to desolating thoughts and sentiments that tempt me away from being faithful. I will exercise patient suffering when an opportunity arises to die to myself.
For Further Reflection: Discernment of Spirits, Rule 8.
Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi 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 and “Nine Days with Mary Magdalene.”