22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 3, 2017)

In today’s Gospel, Jesus challenges us to lose our life in order to find it. St. Francis de Sales speaks of losing our life so as to find it in Christ through a change of heart.

To lose our life in this sense is to let go of our unhealthy, self-centered loves. That may cause us to suffer. Yet, we must not be disturbed at our imperfections, for holiness consists in letting go of them. How can we abandon them unless we see and overcome them? Our victory consists in being conscious of them and not consenting to them.

As long as we live, we will feel the stirrings of anger and attachments. They ought not to surprise us, for these emotions of the heart are spontaneous natural inclinations. It is not these that we wish to uproot. Holiness does not consist in feeling nothing! What we need to uproot are those actions that are consequences of these emotions, like those murmurings that dissipate our energy, and that we willingly nurture in our heart for days.

To the extent that our beloved Jesus lives in your heart your whole being will be turned away from a culture that has so often deceived you. Dead to your old life, you will find a new life in Christ. The stars do not stop shining in the sun’s presence. Rather the sunlight is so bright that they are hidden within the sunlight. So, too, we no longer live by ourselves when we live Jesus, for our life is hidden in Christ with God.

Whoever wins your heart has won you wholly. While our heart is the source of our actions, it must be instructed on how it ought to act. If you live Jesus in your heart, you will soon live Him in all your outward ways. As if holding your heart, soul, and will in your own hands, dedicate and consecrate them to God. Little by little as we change the orientation of our heart, we find our true life in living Jesus. We come to love what God loves. Then, like Mary, we can say, “My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord!”

(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales)