Do you want to lose? (cf. Mark 8:35), a reflection by Fr. Ogoe

Sometimes in life you have to be defeated in order to win. Sometimes in life you have to be foolish in order to be wise. Sometimes in life you have to lose in order to gain. Such is the paradox and wisdom of the Cross. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it”. Really? This does not sound like the kind of thing you want to say to attract followers. The last thing I want is to be a loser! And worse of all to lose my life! If this is what the message of Christ is about, then Christianity’s claim to offer hope to the world seems to be a delusion.

But wait! That is not all. There is another part of the message you need to know. The Lord says: “You will save your life”. Every normal person wants to save his life, so he may have to pay attention to the Lord’s message about saving one’s life by losing it. That is Christ’s message. And it is simple: If you really want to save your life, you better learn to lose it! Yes, you better lose your life, if you want to keep it. Call it the foolishness of the Cross. Call it the paradox of the Cross. Call it whatever you want. This is the Wisdom of God which saves the world – the kind of wisdom which only the humble of heart can receive.

The prophet Isaiah tells us about a “mysterious” figure called the Servant-of-the-Lord, who will be uniquely known for his obedience, humility, fidelity and righteousness. The prophet says of him: “The Lord God opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back. I gave my back to those who plucked my beared; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. The Lord God is my help, therefore, I am not disgraced” (Is 50:4c-7a). This Servant of God is Christ Jesus. He is portrayed as one who lost his life by enduring humiliation, defeat and death. He is portrayed as a “loser-winner”, as one who won by losing; as one who lived by dying. In a world where retaliation seems to be the order of the day, virtues like forgiveness, humility, faith and trust can seem out of place because they are a sign of weakness. In this sense, the suffering and humiliation of Jesus point to weakness, likewise his message of losing one’s life in order to keep it.

Yet, here is precisely where Christ is right and the world is wrong. His strength is in his weakness. His wisdom is in his foolishness. His power is in his gentleness. His glorious life is in his shameful death. This is the wisdom that overcame the Devil. It is the wisdom of the Cross. It is the philosophy keeping-by-losing/losing-by-keeping. The world today needs to discover and re-discover this unique philosophy of the Cross. Christ invites every person to embrace this philosophy, this way of thinking, and this way of living. In order to keep your life, you have to lose it. It is not enough, however, to lose your life. More importantly, you have to lose your life to Christ Jesus. It does not make sense to lose your life to Satan. Lose your life to Jesus that you may gain his life, for your real life is that which is hidden in him. Remember, in him is life.

To lose your life to Christ means to stand for the values of the Gospel: love, truth, sacrifice, fidelity, integrity and holiness. It also means being willing to embrace the consequences of choosing Christ. St. Paul profoundly understood the truth expressed by the paradox of the Cross, and so he boldly declared: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20). Again, he says: “Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2Cor 12:10).

Indeed, for us who believe in Christ as our Lord and Master, when we are weak, then we are strong; when we are foolish, then we are wise; when we are dead, then we live; and when we lose, then we gain. Dear friend, what have you lost for the sake of Christ? What are you willing to lose in order to receive the gift of God?

Do you want to be a winner? Then, I invite you to consider becoming a loser for Christ’s sake. Do you want to live? Then I invite you to consider dying for Christ’s sake. Hand over your life. Lose it to Christ, that you may gain the better and higher life in him. And in conclusion, you may want to say the following prayer with faith:

Lord Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner. I hand over my life to you today. Let your will be done. And give me your Divine Life, that I may live in your presence forever. Amen.

 

Published by

Stephen

Motivationa speaker and spiritual teacher.

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