Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
“Okay, Jesus, that sounds really good. A hundred to one return on an investment is excellent. But there is one phrase in the contract that makes me uneasy—with persecutions. If you could just delete that, your offer would be just about perfect.” Peter and his fellow disciples, like many of us, could not resist asking the “What’s in it for me?” question. We are willing to make an effort, to make a commitment, but we want to know that it is going to be effective, that it is going to pay off.
Jesus will work with Peter and with his other disciples and with us to lead his followers to a deeper realization of what it means to serve him. In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius has several key meditations that guide a person to see things more and more from Christ’s perspective. At the conclusion of the Kingdom meditation, the person making the Exercises prays to imitate Jesus in bearing all injuries and affronts and in poverty, actual as well as spiritual.
There is a similar prayer at the conclusion of the meditation on the Two Standards. And in the “Take and Receive” prayer at the end of the Exercises, the person gives everything back to God, and says that God’s love and grace is all that is needed.
St. Ignatius is realistic enough to recognize that this is a challenging step. We may not be ready. So we may need to start with the desire to desire such a relationship with Christ. And we may even need to begin by praying for the desire to desire the desire.
Where do I find myself in my journey to join Christ in the persecutions, the tough stuff?
—Fr. Joseph Folzenlogen, S.J.is vice-superior of the Faber Jesuit Community in Cincinnati and Director of Claver Jesuit Ministry.
Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to labor and not to seek for reward, save that of knowing that I am doing your holy will.
—St. Ignatius, Prayer for Generosity