Planting is an act of faith and hope. When we plant, it takes time for the seed to germinate and grow. There are no “instant” gardens or “instant” crop harvests.
Likewise, when we choose to follow Jesus, we do not go from seed to fruit right away. It happens in God’s time. If we want to be followers of the Lord, we have to accept His timing. And this demands patience from us.
With God, there is a time for dying and a time for rising; a time for sacrifice and a time for rejoicing; a time for Lent and a time for Easter. When we rush his plan and take things into our own hands, we ruin it. In our nature we would like to eliminate the dying part altogether. We recoil from sacrifice. We don’t want to think about unpleasant things. The world always is trying to distract us, telling us to enjoy life and that we do not have to suffer.
However, the gospel of Jesus Christ tells us that to follow him means not simply rising but both dying and rising. If we do not die to our selfish ways, we will not grow. If we do not die to our worldly attachments, we will not progress in our spiritual life. We cannot avoid the paschal mystery, and there is no shortcut. We cannot experience a rainbow unless we have gone through a rain storm. We will not be able to experience life transformation if we do not, willingly and patiently, endure our sufferings, our crosses, our pain (whether physical, emotional, mental, or having to do with relationships).
1. Do you accept that you must die in order to rise? Cite an instance in your life wherein you experienced dying and rising.
2. What are the fears (or doubts, etc.) which prevent you from believing fully in Christ’s victory over death? Under what circumstances are you tempted to say, “This is too much,” and walk away?
3. As you ponder God’s message to you about the process of growth involving dying and rising, ask yourself: in my life, what do I need to “die to” in order that I may grow into the person Christ wants me to be?
–Adapted from a meditation in Anawim, March 22, 2015.