The following is adapted from Florencio Segura S.J.’s ” Eight Days of the Spiritual Exercises.”
There are those who follow Christ because they want to serve Him whom they call master… and there are those who follow because they are willing to lose their lives for love and in imitation of Christ who is dispossessed and broken, poor and humiliated.
For those who hear God’s call, it is a radical and coherent call that has echoed throughout the history of Salvation. It is the call to ‘lose one’s life’. To the most radical dispossession of our certainties, of everything that support our life. Not to have anything.
Thus Yahweh called the chosen people, dispossessed of their kings; and not permitted to choose their kings, because, “You will be My people and I will be your King: I will lead you.” Inviting them to trust only in Him.
For the Israelites in their time, kings were indispensable to take their people to victory against neighboring peoples, indeed to survive. And yet God asks them to renounce having kings who would take them to victory, dispossessing them of what is most vital.
This is also the experience of Jesus in the desert for forty days: the Father invites Him to focus on His mission as the Messiah, suffering Servant; and not as the triumphant and political Messiah that the people were waiting so long for. (Do I dare to be who God calls me to be, and not who others are hoping I will be?)
Christ calls all Christians to dispossession of their certainties, their possessions, their supports, their prestige… not to have anything, not even the certainty of one’s ideas. The supreme poverty of Christ, the supreme dispossession of Christ, is not the manger, the workshop, having nothing on which to recline the head – but the Cross: and on the Cross, the cry, “My God, My God, why have you abandoned Me?”
The dispossession is so absolute that we cannot even “possess God”. The true “poor of Yahweh” is an emptied person, so full only of mercy, a person who delivers oneself into the hands of the Father and trusts only in Him.
“The one who wishes to save his life will lose it.”
I’m terrified. I hear You. I see You. Your gaze is so loving and compelling. I can’t do this, except in you.