Tag Archives: presence of God

Dying to Self

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
—John 12:24

IMG_7355Dying to self means letting go of all the attachments that keep us from God; it is a purging of all that is not love. This means loosening our grip on our own plans, our desire for comfort and convenience, our tendencies toward selfishness and sin.

We can try to be the boss of our own lives, or we can give Jesus permission to call the shots. If we let Jesus take control, we will face the Cross, but we will also begin to see everything in our lives through His radiant Light.

Only when we throw ourselves upon God’s providence will we find ourselves—our true selves, who God created us to be. Dying to self is not an act of self-abasement but rather an act of faith—that when we cut away all the clutter we will find goodness underneath, that in the core of our being we will find the presence of God. Indeed, this dying to self is the seed of our salvation.

By abandoning our own agenda, we open our hands to receive the truest desires of our hearts. God knows us better than we know ourselves, and He will give us gifts greater than any of the earthly attachments we cling to.

Originally posted at Frassati Reflections.
Featured image: PD-US

Human Devices as Reminders of God’s Presence

Part of the battle to live Lent is to not forget that it is Lent. It is especially hard for busy Catholic professionals caught in a daily whirlwind frenzy of work, social life, current events, and family duties.

This only means that we busy Catholic professionals must take pro-active strategies to remind ourselves of our spiritual duties throughout the day. On this I learned a thing or two from St. Josemaria Escriva, who dedicated his life to teaching ordinary Christians in the middle of the world how they could achieve sanctity in and through their circumstances as such.

One tip I learned from him was the use of what I called “human devices”: little things to remind me to lift up my mind and heart to God occasionally while I travel, work, or have fun. In The Furrow, St. Josemaria Escriva wrote an example of such human device:

“Place on your desk, in your room, in your wallet… a picture of Our Lady, and look at it when you begin your work, while you are doing it, and when you finish it. She will obtain, I assure you!, the strength for you to turn your task into a loving dialogue with God.”

Many people I know do the same: placing a small holy image or crucifix at places they see often like their work spaces, their calculators, as wallpapers for their laptops, etc. I realize that in the Philippines, we are lucky that we are still allowed to publicly display these items. But with a bit of creativity, it is possible to use human devices anywhere discreetly: perhaps a prayer in Latin or in another foreign language scrawled on a Post-It, a vacation photo taken near or at a religious shrine that is a popular tourist destination as well, a secular object that one privately associates with Christ, Mary, or the saints (like a bouquet in a vase to remind one of St. Therese of the Little Flower, for example, or a small figurine of a sheep to remind one of Christ the Good Shepherd).

These human devices need not be used only during Lent; they may be used throughout the year. The examples given above are only a few of the human devices one can use. The point is to be creative and pro-active in making ways to be reminded of God throughout the day. Not everyone may need these human devices all the time, but for many people, including me, these human devices have helped us pray more and better despite the busyness of life.