Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dying to Self

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, 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.” – John 12:23b-24

Shortly after becoming Catholic, I attended a day of reflection at a nearby retreat center. It was a retreat for survivors of child sexual abuse.
During a break, I walked outside and noticed Stations of the Cross set up outside. I had never prayed them before but felt the need to do so. I had no idea of what to do or what to say, so I decided to read the inscription on each cross and reflect on them.
As I walked the path, I was struck by the fact that my life seemed to follow the same path. I had carried many crosses. I had fallen many times. I had died many deaths.
I was so moved and decided I needed to go through all of the Stations again. I reflected on my childhood and the heavy cross I had carried most of my life. I cried and I prayed and I thanked Jesus for the times I knew he helped me carry my cross.
And I went home, a new person, never to forget that day.
This was the first time in my spiritual life that I had understood that, to be like Jesus, to follow Jesus, we too must carry our own crosses. We too must die to ourselves.
And I also learned that, while dying to self can be difficult and painful, it can also be healing. Transformative. Renewing.
A kind of resurrection.
“The mystery of ‘Die before you die’ is this: that the gifts come after your dying and not before.” (Rumi)

Dear Lord, as we come closer to Palm Sunday and Holy Week, as we ponder your passion, death and resurrection, help us to meditate on these things. Help us to know your will for us and increase our understanding of what you have done for us. Help us to know your love for us is eternal and unchanging. Heal us, Lord. Transform our lives and our hearts so we grow closer to You. Amen.


Colleen @ ID said...

Great post, Colleen. The Stations of the Cross devotion has always had a pull on my heart too.

Michael said...

What a moving reflection on your growth as a Catholic. It's inspiration for all of us.

God Bless you!

Karinann said...

Wonderful reflection, Colleen. I never really saw the stations from that perspective before, but now that I think about it, I can see how each of our lives reflect this path. In the stations we see Jesus' example of how to follow Him.
Hugs & Blessings!

Colleen said...

Colleen, thank you.

Michael, thank you. I was having a hard time with this reflection and then it just came to me - "out of the blue." Thanks be to God.

Karinann, glad you liked my post. Since I was such a newbie, I knew no other way to see the stations. And of course, that retreat theme led to me thinking of my life experience. God has a way of leading us gently to what we need, eh? Hugs and blessings!

RAnn said...

Beautiful reflection, thanks for sharing it with us.

Carol@simple_catholic said...

Beautiful reflection. These lines:

"I also learned that, while dying to self can be difficult and painful, it can also be healing. Transformative. Renewing.
A kind of resurrection."

are something more people need to hear. Dying to self is so, so hard and yet it is in the dying that we can rise.

Thank you for yet another thought-provoking reflection, Colleen.

Colleen said...

RAnn, thank you! God bless! Thanks for the Sunday Snippets meme!

Carol, thank you. Have a blessed Holy Week.

Barbara Schoeneberger said...

Sometimes dying to self is a struggle and sometimes we are fortunate that God gives us the grace to surrender in peace. I can see in retrospect how all the crosses in my life have been allowed by God for my own good and that of others.

It seems awful that God allowed you to be molested as a child, but then He came along and showered you with many graces and gave you a voice of hope for others. You could have turned out to be somebody who lived on the dark side of life, but, by the grace of God, you are shining the light of Christ for others. Something truly to be celebrated.

Colleen said...

Barb, so beautiful the way you put that. I agree. In my memoir, I wrote about how I could see God in my whole life, even when being molested. God gave me the grace to see that He was with me always. I want to be Jesus' light. Thank you for seeing that.