The narrow gate. So narrow only the few find it.
When I hear those words my heart sinks. It’s the few. The smart. The strong. The brave. The good. The extra good. The virtuous. The contemplative souls. The self-sacrificing hearts.
That’s not me. Not me…again.
The narrow path makes me think I need to find it. And when I find it I need to stay on it.
But we all know what happens when we are walking on narrow paths.
We step off the path, or fall off the path.
We get so absorbed in staying on the path that we miss the flowers along the way. We forget who we are walking toward and who is walking at our side.
We get curious and take a bit of a detour, or a long detour. Maybe we turn back because it is frighteningly narrow at certain points.
When I look at my life I have to admit, that’s me.
And if the gate is narrow, we need to be thin, small, unencumbered, simple to fit through in order to get where we want to go.
We have to be so careful for the evil one can feed us so many lies that lead to desolation and depression. Lies like: You aren’t good enough. God can’t love you now after this. See you can’t make up for time lost on this or that detour. Admit it, this happened because God is angry with you.
Friends, what if the narrow path was meant to be a joyous announcement, not a moral measure?
Perhaps Jesus was saying:
“Yes the path is narrow, so narrow you can’t find it or stay on it yourself. In fact, I already know that.
“The narrowness of the path is not a measure of how perfectly you find or stay on some spiritual trajectory you’ve chosen through life.
“The narrowness is about those who come to realize, through the struggles and failures of their attempts to live in my love, that they need me.
“Because they realize they are helpless.
“And are willing to trust entirely in what I am doing in and through them, even when they see only their sins and failures. The narrowness is the blessing of those who, layer by layer, let go of all they think they need, or want, to be happy.”
Since your Baptism, God has been unfolding within you his life, his way, his Word in us. Taking you along his unique path for you.
It is only gradually that we are taught, mentored, led along, brought back after wandering, personally carried if necessary, broken and rebuilt, renewed, recreated.
Only Jesus knows that narrow path, and only he can carry us on it. It is so narrow there is no room for two. He brings us along in his arms, within his heart, offering us at last to the Father as the greatest treasure of his love, as brother, as sister, as co-heir, as son and daughter of the Father.
Kathryn James Hermes, FSP, is the author of the newly released title: Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments, by Pauline Books and Media. An author and spiritual mentor, she offers spiritual accompaniment for the contemporary Christian’s journey towards spiritual growth and inner healing. She is the director of My Sisters, where people can find spiritual accompaniment from the Daughters of St. Paul on their journey.
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