Day Two - Following Christ
Luke 8: 1-3
Afterward [Jesus] journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying them were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities. Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.
Delivered from her sins, exorcised from her demons, a grateful and glowing Mary Magdalene decides to become a dedicated follower of Christ.
And here they go, on the roads, from village to village, to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus’ followers have the privilege to listen to Jesus teachings and witness his acts. Mary Magdalene is an assiduous student. She listens carefully to the words of the master. Eventually, she grasps a fundamental concept from Jesus’ teaching: poverty is the key to grace and happiness. Spiritual poverty first: not having our mind burdened with impure thoughts, with the seeking of selfish pleasures, with guilt, with anger, with bitterness… will allow us to easily turn our heart to God and our neighbor.
Indeed, Christ invites us to dump all our negativity on him: our burdens, difficulties, failures, problems, weaknesses, addictions… « Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. » (Matthew 11, 28-30)
Mary Magdalene understands that spiritual poverty is a pre-requisite to welcome God’s wealth and be shaped by his grace. Grace cannot operate in a mind, in a heart occupied by thousands of negative and sinful thoughts and feeling.
Humbly, Mary Magdalene lays all her past sins and negative experiences at Jesus’ feet. She then asks God to fulfill her with his grace : « Lord, grant that I may be shaped by your grace, that I may be reconciled by your forgiveness, that I may be transformed by your word, that I may be carried by Christ, that I may be allowed to be led by your Son, that I may be cured by the true physician of hearts, that I may be driven in the right direction by the One you sent, You are the way, the truth, and the life. »
Spiritual poverty enables us to become obedient to the Holy Spirit. That means trusting God completely, thus allowing him to work freely in our life. We trust him because we believe that he knows us, and he knows on which paths to lead us to find the ultimate happiness. We trust that he will send us where our calling is, where we will be most fulfilled.
And what about material poverty? Well, it naturally follows spiritual poverty. Logically, someone who is spiritually poor won’t run after the earthly riches, nor will he try to amass gold or heaps of money. He will use material goods for what they are, without turning them into idols or addiction.
Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6