Jesus tells His disciples that they will undergo trials and tribulation. It is not going to be an easy thing to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. During His ministry, Jesus gave the disciples plenty of opportunities to leave Him. It is no good to the mission if we start out full of enthusiasm, but when the going gets tough, we leave. Jesus would rather know from the beginning whether or not a person intends to persevere through to the end!
This is still true today. Both of the Vocational Sacraments, Marriage and Orders are life-long commitments. It is important for those receiving these Sacraments know this so that they can make their decisions accordingly. We live in a world where commitments seem to be easily broken with little or no guilt attached. This cannot be the case when we decide to be a disciple of Jesus. This decision needs to be a life decision as well. This is quite obvious when we consider the nature of the commitment being unto eternal life!
As we make these life-long decisions we need to be prepared to work through the difficulties when they arise. If we can bring an attitude of trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to see us through each of theses times, then we are already halfway to a successful resolution of the difficulty. If we approach problems in our strength it will be a recipe for disaster! St Paul speaks of the need to die to ourselves if we are to be successful disciples in virtually every one of his letters.
As we decide to follow Jesus on a daily basis, let us be aware of the trials that will come and approach them with a sense of joy and victory, as we know that we are conquerors in Christ Jesus. We know that we already have the victory if we surrender it all to Jesus. This is the recipe that will see us through to the end of our days and see us approach judgement day with the quiet assurance of a disciple who knows that he has laid down everything in the service of the Gospel and his or her Lord.
How often do I experience trials in my life? How do I approach them? Do I let them defeat me before I have put up a fight, or do I approach them with the sure faith of someone who lives in the victory of Jesus?
Holy Spirit, in you alone is the certitude of victory. You hold the key to my success or failure as a Christian. Release in my life the grace that I need to follow Jesus and to walk in His victory over sin and death.