“If we wish to follow Christ closely, we cannot choose an easy, quiet life. It will be a demanding life, but full of joy.” –Pope Francis
Today’s Gospel reading quotes Christ saying, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39). Over the past few years I have had times of feeling like I am right where I belong, and other times I have felt completely out of sorts. There have been joys and their have been trials in life. Navigating the ups and downs of having an anxiety disorder, moving away from my hometown, and changing jobs multiple times have caused me great distress and ultimately increased my desire to follow Christ.
When we face the struggles of life it can be debilitating. Time and time again I have difficulty taking the trials that come my way in stride – I prefer to feel sorry for myself, be depressed, and ultimately feel hopeless. I don’t prefer this approach to trials because it feels good, but rather because it is easier. It is easier to feel bad for myself and feel as though I am being persecuted, and it is much harder to focus upon the positives in life and how God has blessed me along the journey of life thus far.
The road to Heaven is narrow. With the call to carry our cross and follow Christ we are automatically embracing the suffering that will come our way, because we will always face suffering in this life. When we maintain our peace and trust in God’s promises we grow in relationship with Him through leaning on Him more and more. When we give up control, lose our life for the Kingdom, embrace the suffering, and go wherever Christ calls without reservation He will bless our endeavors beyond our wildest dreams – we belong to Him and we find our lives in Him.
“Pain and suffering have come into your life, but remember pain, sorrow, suffering are but the kiss of Jesus – a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you.” –St. Teresa of Calcutta
Nathalie Shultz is a joyful convert to the Catholic faith and a competitive swimmer with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). She loves to share her passion for Catholicism with others, including her conversion story and how God continues to work miracles in her life through her OCD. Nathalie is married to her best friend, Tommy Shultz. Her favorite saints include St. Peter the Apostle, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II. She is also a huge fan of C.S. Lewis. If you have any questions for Nathalie, or just want her to pray for you, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.