We ought to die in order to live?

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

WE have to be ready to understand as quickly as possible some of the incredible teachings of Christ. One of them is that we need to die in order to live. (cfr. Jn 12,24-26) “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life,” he said. This was prefaced by the image of a seed that needs to be sown and die in the ground for it to grow and produce much fruit.

Our first reaction to these words would most likely be that this is a crazy doctrine. But obviously, if we consider that these words came from Christ, we would have reason to reconsider them.

And true enough, if we follow the life and example of Christ as we should, it should come to our mind that this teaching delineates the very essence of what love truly is. Christ, who is love incarnate, died for us to recover us from our unavoidable sinfulness and to offer us eternal life with God who wants us to be like him, sharers of his life and nature.

And what does this involve? It means that we have to continually fight against our weakness, our temptations and our sins that separate us from Christ or that violate the will of God for us. This will involve going against what we like in order to conform our will, our mind and heart to the will and ways of God as taught, shown and lived by Christ himself.

That is what is meant by “losing his life for my (Christ’s) sake.”  We need to realize that our weaknesses, temptations and sins can so dominate us that they can practically become our life. And that is the life that we have to lose for the sake of Christ.

This fight against our weaknesses, temptations and sins will obviously involve effort, pain and suffering, since what is involved is the loosening, or worse, letting go of our will, our most precious and intimate faculty that practically identifies who we really are, so that our will conforms to the will of God instead. It is a form of self-emptying so that we can only be filled with the will and spirit of God.

Yes, it’s going to be a “bloody” struggle, but a struggle that is unavoidable and necessary. Besides, we are assured of victory as long as we go along with Christ who makes himself so available to us that he is all there for us. We should not worry too much of what this whole affair would involve.

We should never think that we will be going through this struggle by our lonesome, relying only on our own human powers. It’s true that what we would be tackling is overwhelming. But if we only open ourselves to God, nothing would be impossible for us.

We have to learn how to be cool with this condition in our life, and avoid falling into unnecessary stress and worries. This is part of the territory. We can handle it perfectly well. We just have to have the right attitudes and skills.

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 designs.

Email: roycimagala@gmail.com