Tears filled my eyes as I struggled to nurse my three-week-old daughter. Our visiting parents had left town, my husband was on campus taking graduate classes, and I was home alone—without a car and battling engorgement, mastitis, and baby blues. We were ten months into living in a new city many hours from family, and while we had started to make friends, the loneliness was often oppressive.
Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel (Luke 14:25-33) rang true in my life then and still do today. I did not literally “hate” my “father and mother” and “brothers and sisters,” but I did forsake living close to them for the sake of following my vocation, the path where I felt the Lord calling me to holiness. For me it was staying at home with our honeymoon baby, and for him it was pursuing his dream of studying philosophy.
Having a baby added another level of “hating” my “own life.“ I do not mean my existence or my husband and child, but I mean in setting aside my selfish desires, putting others before me, renouncing all my selfish possessions for the sake of my husband and daughter. Every day, I learned of a new “possession” the Lord was calling me to give up.
But, Sister, the Lord did not leave me empty. As I learned to give of myself to others, He filled me with Himself. His love replaced much of my selfishness, though there is still much more to give up. He even surrounded me with a beautiful Catholic community while we lived in Buffalo, New York, and again when we moved to another city in Minnesota, hours from family for the sake of my husband’s dream job. Even here, the Lord has blessed us with amazing community.
When the Lord asks us to “hate” those nearest to us, He is asking us to put Him first, to trust Him and make sacrifices for the sake of serving Him and growing in holiness. Where in your life is He asking this of you?Put Him first. // @susannacspencer Click To Tweet
Thank you for being here.
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