“That’s crazy!” “That’s too extreme!” “You’ve lost it.” I am sure you have heard these expressions from close family members or even friends who know you and who love you. They very well may be looking out for your well-being and to some degree may be right … judging by the standards of the world…but it is a divine promise and it still holds true for us:
Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. (Mk 10:29-30)
Jesus gave one Great Commission to his Apostles before He ascended into heaven: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt 28:19-20)
What connects these two bold statements of Jesus’? What do they have to do with you or me? Well, we are about building up the Church by building up (or re-building) the faith. We are committed to listening to the Words of Christ and taking them into our hearts where we encounter the Holy Spirit Who ‘sighs’ within us, calling us, prodding us, poking us, challenging us to ‘hear’ anew the Word of GOD as if it were spoken today, to me or to you; but building comes with a cost!
Too often we are tempted to seek out a false gospel of ‘comfortability’ or even ‘prosperity’ in building up the faith. We can be lulled into ‘admiring’ the heroic Saints more than ‘imitating’ these Holy Ones. We prefer to see things from our perspective rather than through the prism of the Cross.
It’s true that most readers and members of the community of Build the Faith are not called to religious life and vows of strict poverty or to be released of their real responsibilities to others, especially the care of their children and their future. Even so, all of us are called to let the true gospel scrutinize our inner thoughts, our heart’s desires, and our true needs.
When Jesus extends to the ‘rich young man’ the ultimate invitation: “Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me,” Jesus is doing so while looking at him with love, knowing exactly what will give this young man real happiness. Yet, letting go of all that he had enjoyed was too much for him, and he walked away sad. When he walked away, the Sacred Heart of Jesus was also sad.
Jesus Christ called His disciples 2,000 years ago as He calls us today; to place everything we have, all that we are, at His feet for Him to dispose of as He desires so we may re‑build His Church.
One modern day Saint who did just this is the foundress of Build the Faith, Christina Dangond. She utterly emptied herself of her desires, her delights, her own preferences and, in doing so, she gained the greatest joy of having Jesus fully alive in her soul, and now He has truly filled her soul with love. Christina allowed herself to be filled with the Will of GOD, preferring to say countless times a day: Jesus, I Trust in YOU! She became perfectly indifferent (in the true spiritual way), wanting only what Jesus wanted.
Please take time today in prayer to ask Jesus what it is that He wants from you. What must you let go of? Material things? Old hurts? Dreams for tomorrow? Be confident that Jesus will meet you where you are and walk with you one day at a time. You will never walk away sad, you will never be sorry, and you will stand before Him on judgement day as all the Saints do – as Christina did – and say: Lord, I gave you everything. You will then hear Jesus say to you: Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (Mt 25:34)
Jesus, I Trust in YOU! Little Christina, pray for us!
Fr. Ed was ordained to the priesthood in May 2000 for the Archdiocese of Boston. He held three different parish assignments in the Archdiocese from 2000-2010 before his appointment to the Faculty of Saint John’s Seminary, where he was Dean of Men and Director of Pastoral Formation from 2010-2022. Fr. Ed is currently the Administrator of Sacred Heart Parish in Waltham, MA and Spiritual Director & Liaison for the Office for Homeschooling of the Archdiocese of Boston. He is the Spiritual Director for the World Apostolate of Fatima in the Archdiocese and a perpetually professed member of the Institute of Jesus the Priest of the Pauline Family.