the paradox of love

at mass today, you will hear jesus teach:

“…whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
— matthew 10

this is the gospel paradox– the paradox of true love

this is a difficult teaching to understand and live well. our nature is to shed the crosses/sufferings in our lives as soon as possible. for many, it is not easy to follow jesus in this way. in this scripture, these two actions are connected. when we take up our crosses, our discipleship of jesus is then possible.

we create our own crosses at times; crosses are also imposed on us. what crosses are you and i carrying at this time?

over the years, being a claretian priest has brought many unique crosses in my life. in each stage of community life and service there have been different crosses. i have adjusted to these– sometimes well, sometimes not. i am still learning and carrying certain crosses. but being a claretian priest is my call and commitment and i thank God for it.

right now i carry a different cross. being back in my hometown of seattle helping care for my elderly mother i get to help with masses on sunday thanks to the generosity of my nieces. i joke that i am a claretian priest a few hours a week and my mother’s son the rest of the time.

i have never been attracted to homeownership and all the things that it entails; i have never been a homebody. this experience of being in seattle has confirmed this self knowledge. in this sense, this whole timeliving outside of a community as a claretian priest is a cross for me.

while it is great to see my family and friends so easily and often, this is not my call. but to be here while my mother is still alive is necessary. i do find myself pining for my next assignment. whenever i talk to my claretian brothers about these possibilities, i get quite excited. will it be two months? two more years? God knows…

so i try my best to take up this different cross, learn as best i can from what the Spirit is teaching me. following jesus is quite different right now for me: these are new perspectives of love. sometimes i really do ask myself, “who am i again?”

is this what it means to lose MY life? am i finding it anew? what am i finding through it all? is this what love is?

Lord, give me the graces of wisdom and understanding so i may bear the crosses in my life and indeed lose my selfish self so i may find you. Lord, give me a new will to love.

1 Comment

  1. Nancy Plurad says:

    Father Art, you prove yourself as the good son caring for your mother, learning about love and living in the process. May God bless you always.


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