Giving of self

Daily Reading for April 19 • Tuesday in Holy Week

Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

There are two sides to every vocation: unconditional giving of self to the call of God—“Here I am, send me!”—and the gift of power which rewards the total gift of self to God. In Christ’s life we see these two movements in perfect balance. How humbly he submitted to the Will of the Father, totally absorbed in His business, and to the tests, pressure, suffering that came through circumstances; and yet how, though never in His own interest and never apart from His love and pity for man, there is always the Power to intervene, save, mould, defeat opposition, transform even the humble accidents of life. In all men and women of prayer deeply united to God that double state exists too. That handing of self over and the mysterious power that somehow acts through self in consequence—the right word said, the right prayer prayed. But only in proportion to the self-effacement. The power of course is God’s, not ours. One hears people say, “He (or she) is simply wonderful!” Not at all! He or she is the self-emptied channel of the only Wonderful—the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father. When we give ourselves to Him without reserve we become points of insertion for the rescuing spirit of Love. We are woven into the Redeeming Body so that we may provide more and more channels for God.

From The Light of Christ by Evelyn Underhill (London: Longmans, 1945).

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