I vividly remember being in holy hour after my first week as a summer missionary at Covecrest, a Life Teen camp, subconsciously letting my prayer flow from a place of complacency and contentment. I had done everything He asked of me, even when it meant being covered in mud and sharing a room with thirteen girls. I was out of my comfort zone in every way: what did I lack? I gazed at Him in the monstrance that morning, and He floored me with one simple question.
What are you willing to give up for me?
I spent my next six weeks at Covecrest beginning to answer that question, thinking a lot about what Jesus says to this man in the Gospel. Little context is offered about this man; we know nothing about the life he led or even what his name was. Yet, I feel like I know this man so personally. I have lived his encounter with Jesus a thousand times over. His doubts and pains are living characters in the narrative of the human experience today, two thousand years later.
The young man is faced with the reality that Christ’s words call on two very polarized responses: to give it all or walk away. Jesus does not hesitate to ask the man to sell all his many possessions. He asks for the man to leave everything behind and follow Him, not follow His teachings from a comfortable distance. He offers treasure in Heaven to replace his worldly possessions. Even then, the young man walks away sad in the end, and I feel his heartbreak when I read it. I feel the tensions of my own divided heart that often aches for Him but only knows the comfort of captivity in my own sin. I think about that morning at Covecrest that He asked if I would give it all for Him, and I began the process of reckless surrender, praying He would give me a heart abandoned.
This Gospel is a reminder that the Lord does not ask for our partial hearts, our lackluster Mass attendance, or our “maybe later” responses. His desire is for us to drop everything and follow Him wholeheartedly, leaving behind lesser goods for Goodness Himself. The good news, sisters, is that He sings a song of strength over us in the process of our own individual surrenders, where we can leave behind what holds us captive.
“Come, follow me.”
Let today be about those three words and the freedoms given by a God who desires the journey with us.
Sarah Erickson is a politics pre-law major at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Born and raised in Arizona, she finds great joy in mountains, lattes, American history, and the piano. She is constantly discovering Christ's wild love in the little things. You can find out more about her here.