We should die so as to live
This is again one of the paradoxes in Christian life. These paradoxes are unavoidable since we have to deal with the many conflicts and oppositions we have within ourselves and among ourselves, not to mention the tension among the different dimensions and aspects of our earthly life—the material and the spiritual, the natural and the supernatural, the temporal and the eternal, etc.
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.
Christ somehow referred to this particular paradox when he said: “Truly, truly, I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a seed. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life will lose it, but whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life…” (Jn 12, 24-25) And he acted it out himself when he finally died on the cross and then resurrected after three days.
It would be good if we keep this paradigm in mind always. We need to die in order to have eternal life with God. And this can happen if we die with Christ, that is, with faith, hope and charity, because only then can we share also in the resurrection of Christ.
St. Paul said as much: “If we have been united with him (Christ) in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him ina resurrection like his…If we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” (Rom 6,5-8)
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.
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.*
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