Die to have the fullness of life

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

YES, in a certain sense, we need to die in order to live, and live not just some ordinary life, but rather the very fullness of life, which is none other than living the life of God. This is no gratuitous affirmation. This is based on what Christ himself clearly said:

“Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.” (Jn 12,24-25)

We have to remember that we are meant to live our life with God, since we are supposed to be his image and likeness, children of his, and sharers of his divine life. For this, we have to extinguish our notorious tendency to live simply on our own, relying only on our own powers that in the end also come actually from God.

Let’s realize more deeply and constantly that the only possibility we have if we do not live our life with God is to sin, if not now, then later. It will surely come. It would simply be a matter of time before we fall.

We have to learn the art of dying according to what Christ meant by his words to be able to live a life proper to us. We have to find ways to die a little everyday so that little by little also we can achieve a certain degree of the life that God meant for us, he who created us to be his image and likeness. We have to avoid simply developing our life purely according to our own designs.

We need to chisel out those parts in ourselves that are not in conformity with God’s designs for us—our sins, our defects and weaknesses. We have to render death to our pride, vanity, lust, greed, laziness, etc.

These of course will require a lot of time and effort, but before anything else, we would need nothing less than the grace of God to conquer them or at least to have control over them. And God himself gives us this grace abundantly.

This is what is meant by dying a little every day. We have to pray and make sacrifices, denying ourselves of something, even the legitimate ones, like food and drinks and some means of comfort without compromising our health, spiritual, physical and otherwise.

We have to learn to detach ourselves from earthly things while using them, so that our heart can only be filled with love for God, and with that love, we can love everybody and everything else properly.

We have to see to it that while we die a little everyday according to what is suggested above, there should also be some kind of awareness that we are being purified, liberated from some burden, etc. In other words, while there is some pain, there should also be a corresponding feeling of joy and peace, otherwise our dying would be dying for nothing.

There definitely should be some feeling that we are getting more intimate with God and with all the others, irrespective of how they are to us. This is how we ought to die so as to live the life proper to us.

That’s why Christ said that if we want to follow him, we should deny ourselves and carry the cross. That can only mean that we need to die to ourselves to be with Christ.

Email: roycimagala@gmail.com