23 Then he said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. --Luke 9:23
At the age of 14, a mentor of mine gave me a book called The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer was a German theologian and pastor who left a comfortable job as a professor in New York City to return to Germany to join the resistance against Hitler and become a leader among the part of the Church that would not identify with Naziism. Just days before the Allies would liberate the concentration camp where he spent the last days of his life, he was hung on a tree.
I'll never forget the words that I read when I was 14: "When Christ calls a man, he bids him, 'Come and die.'"
Today I ask you to consider the question of how your faith in Christ is demonstrated through your regular denying of yourself. With all your endless appetites and the repetitive cry of self for you to indulge, how are you taking steps, on a daily basis, to deny yourself and take up the cross of Christ?
May God give us all grace during this time of fasting to renew our commitment to follow Jesus no matter he takes us.