“If any man would come after me…” — Luke 9:23

[my last post written on Thanksgiving break…]

Here is a catena aurea, a “golden chain” of quotes I created for myself a while ago as I was facing some hard personal challenges. Though I am far from acquiring these inner dispositions, they inspire me to greater things. Without such a call from God, I would be content in my mediocrity.

You would be very ashamed if you knew what the experiences you call setbacks, upheavals, pointless disturbances, and tedious annoyances really are. You would realize that your complaints about them are nothing more nor less than blasphemies – though that never occurs to you. Nothing happens to you except by the will of God, and yet His beloved children curse it because they do not know it for what it is. ― Jean-Pierre de Caussade

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. — C.S. Lewis

…those who are in the monastery are craftsmen placed there by God to mortify you by working and chiseling at you. Some will chisel with words, telling you what you would rather not hear; others by deed, doing against you what you would rather not endure; others by their temperament, being in their person and in their actions a bother and annoyance to you; and others by their thoughts, neither esteeming nor feeling love for you. — St. John of the Cross

Would that men might come at last to see that it is quite impossible to reach the thicket of the riches and wisdom of God except by first entering the thicket of much suffering, in such a way that the soul finds there its consolation and desire. The soul that longs for divine wisdom chooses first, and in truth, to enter the thicket of the cross. — St. John of the Cross

If we love with the love which he loved us; if we face the evil the way he faced it; if we admit it as he admitted it; if we take it upon ourself as he took it; if we forgive and have mercy and trust in the grace no matter how abandoned we feel by God — and we have to feel it to the end, if we’re going to be really a mature lover. That’s why the Cross and the dark night are all a part of our life. It’s not just cheery, rosey, ha-ha, God smiles, love you, you know — smiley-face-on-a-bumper or something, smiley sticker, “God is love”. It’s not a smiley face on a bumper sticker that shows that God is love, it’s Christ crucified that shows that God is love. And then when we enter into Him, when our body gets broken and our blood is shed, in love with Him, then we co-redeem the world in him. Because we’re called to be co-redeemers in him, co-sanctifiers in him, by the power that he gives us, which is the power of the cross. — Fr. Tom Hopko

Our Lord and Saviour lifted up his voice and said with incomparable majesty: “Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase. Let men take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven.” — St. Rose of Lima

I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong. — 2 Cor. 12:9-10

[In response to my question, How will I know when I am humble?] The day that someone points out your faults and weaknesses and you are spontaneously grateful for the favor; or when things don’t go the way you want and you at once thank God; or when someone overlooks some good you’ve done and you feel content that good was done and God alone saw it; or when you’re with someone unpleasant and you find yourself drawn to be with them; then you will know you have begun to taste real humility. Self-less, other-more. — My spiritual director, February 8, 1991

Other than attempting to embody them, what commentary could I offer that could possibly be useful?

4 comments on ““If any man would come after me…” — Luke 9:23

  1. Lois says:

    Dear Fr Tom

    How timely was this message. It made me weep in pain and joy. I have been having some issues and recently had a “meltdown” particularly with my loving and generous husband. Your words helped so much and led me to think that a meltdown can be helpful if it leaves us as a humble puddle of emotions longing for the love and grace of our loving Father. He will sit us on His lap, dry our tears and whisper beautiful words so that we can go ahead with confidence in His watchful and constantly loving gaze.

    Thank you for your continuing inspiration. Lois

    • Your “read” of my post is a supremely eloquent one; a magnificent lived commentary; embodied with such authenticity and tenderness. Thank you. May the Father reveal ever more His loving gaze on you and your husnband.

  2. beads2rosaries says:

    One of mine I look to: The truth is not the same as the majority decision. St JP2 the Great. Tells me there is something to cling to when the water gets rocky.

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