Thought for the Day – 22 January – Self-Denial

Thought for the Day – 22 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) – Wednesday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Year A


“Even though it may not have been put into practice very much, contempt for riches had been taught by some of the ancient pagan philosophers.
Nobody, before Christ, however, even thought of demanding self-renunciation, as well.
Self-denial might seem to be a degradation and almost an annihilation of human nature.
It might appear quite impossible.
Nevertheless, Jesus has said:  “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mt 16:24)

Would God have commanded us to do something impossible?   Certainly not!
As St Augustine says, our divine Redeemer did not order us to do anything impossible but, to do whatever is perfect.
Perfection is, admittedly, difficult but it is not impossible.
Should we answer Jesus Christ’s command in the same way as the the disciples did on one occasion:  “This is a hard saying. Who can listen to it?” (Jn 6:61)
No, our reply must be that which St Peter gave when Our Lord asked reproachfully, “Do you also wish to go away?” (Jn6:68)
We must repeat with Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go?   Thou has the words of everlasting life and we have come to believe and to know, that Thou are the Christ, the Son of God” (Jn 6:69).”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci



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