“Your Religion is Fine to a Point”

“Your Religion is Fine to a Point”

Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Luke 14: 26

I finally get it. It’s real.

The other night I was called out by family. It was not for something bad that I had done, it was for something I am. A long winded argument ended when I was told ‘your religion is fine to a point.’

I was having a discussion about mission, putting faith in action and relying on the Lord. It made the other person uncomfortable, the funny part is I was also uncomfortable.

I was flooded with emotion. Quite frankly I didn’t know what to think. Soon enough I pulled myself together and I thought ‘Good. My faith is being noticed. Others are taking notice and it’s making them uncomfortable too.’

That also overwhelmed me. The last thing I ever want is to live a private faith. The kind of faith that doesn’t overtake your life, but only matters once in a while on some days of the week. I desire to live a life that works like clockwork around the One True God and in this situation it had been taken note.

Faith must not only make an impact in our own life, but also the life of others. The faith we live should also make others uncomfortable.

The God I know isn’t comfortable with mediocrity. To put it in the words of Bishop Scott McCaig, ‘God is not a domesticated house cat.’ God is always wanting more and that means sacrificing our comfort for something greater. That something greater may be difficult and may hurt earthly relationships, but so be it. The love of God is so much greater.

God isn’t good ‘to a point.’ It cannot be a relationship that stops when everything is comfortable or when life is going well. An authentic and lived out personal relationship with Jesus has no limits or boundaries. Precisely because His love for us has no boundaries. The only accurate response to His selfless love is to give even more of ourselves.

But it’s not easy. It shouldn’t be easy.

Discipleship should cost something. It must hurt. It hurt Him. It’s only reasonable that I too should endure some of that pain.

This comment had caused me great pain. But, it reminded of me all the great saints and even the first disciples of Jesus. They too faced backlash on their mission. So I should too. It’s only going to make me better. It’s only going to make my relationship with my Saviour better.

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name.” Matthew 10: 21-22

Life lived radically will not be easy. Persecution should be expected and is normal. Jesus was crucified, the disciples were jailed and killed, many of the saints were martyred. To be a real Christian means real persecution and real discomfort.

The life of a successful Christian is often marked by martyrdom.

Two of my great saintly friends were priests and martyrs. Both St. Isaac Jogues and St. Maximilian Kolbe gave up their life for the faith. As a Jesuit priest and missionary, Jogues embraced torture and martyrdom because it allowed him to live a life the way Jesus did. Along with promoting devotion to Mary, Kolbe volunteered to switch places with another man at Auschwitz and died by lethal injection.

These heroic men took their faith to the point of death. If we are called to do the same, we must.

Life here is great, but it cannot be all that matters. Nor can it be all that we focus on. Our gaze must be set on the next life and how we get there.

So for the Christian there really is no point of stoppage. There isn’t an end point.

Right now the next big thing for you may be fasting, taking a cold shower, sleeping on the floor. Maybe it’s going on that mission trip, having that scary conversation you’re avoiding, or inviting someone to an event at your church. Maybe it’s enduring persecution joyfully, standing up for the truth or fighting back against cultural wrongs.

Whatever difficulty it is be confident that God is with you. His hand is in everything and has been directing everything. Know that any next point you move to is better than the current place you are now.

Inspired by Catholic Christian Outreach’s Apostles Prayer I leave you with this. I added a line because it’s fitting and needed. Let us not stop where we are now, but continue running this race, God willing towards Heaven.

I will go wherever you want me to go. 

I will do anything you want me to do.

I will say anything you want me to say.

To whatever point you want me to go, I will go.

 

Written by Patrick Peori on January 16, 2018.

Patrick is currently a third year Journalism and Political Science student at Carleton University. He is also a CCO Missionary.

Re-posted from his personal blog.