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Gospel Courage

“...whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”

Matt. 10:37-42

Dear Family in Christ,

This Sunday’s Gospel is a continuation of Jesus’ commissioning His disciples to go out and proclaim the Gospel, and His outlining of just what it means to be His disciple. As we hear these words proclaimed, it’s important to remember that just as Jesus spoke them to His disciples two thousand years ago, He speaks them to us here and now. His words to us this Sunday speak of finding our life, losing our life, and taking up our cross. They are both difficult and puzzling, and demand us to engage with them. To that end, I’d like to share one of my favorite reflections on this passage:

‘Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. “He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,” is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book. This paradox is the whole principle of courage; … A man cut off by the sea may save his life only if he will risk it on the precipice. He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by his enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine. … Christianity has done more (than just adequately expressing this): it has marked the limits of it in the awful graves of the suicide and the hero, showing the distance between him who dies for the sake of living and him who dies for the sake of dying. And it has held up ever since, (the) banner of the mystery of chivalry: Christian courage, which is a disdain of death…’

-G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

As we hear Jesus speak to us this Sunday, may we respond with courage and love.

God love you,

Father Corso

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