"Jesus then said to His disciples, 'If a man wishes to come after Me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and begin to follow in My footsteps." —Matthew 16:24
When I was a boy, my friends and I often played a winter game in the snow. The leader would walk across a snowy field. The rest of us had to place our feet exactly into the leader's footprints without disturbing any of the surrounding snow. The one who followed the footprints most exactly was the winner.
Discipleship is much like that game. We are called to "follow in" Jesus' "footsteps" as precisely as possible (Mt 16:24). We go where Jesus goes and do what He does. Jesus goes to Calvary and His steps lead to the cross; we "take up" our cross (Mt 16:24) and go there too. Jesus denies Himself and washes the feet of those who will betray and abandon Him (Jn 13:4ff); likewise, we deny ourselves (Mt 16:24) and forgive and serve those who hurt us. Jesus prays long into the night (Mk 6:46ff); we are challenged to do that too.
A funny thing about that childhood game: when I followed the steps of the leader exactly, my feet didn't get cold because the leader had packed down the snow. If I messed up my steps, I got snow down my boots and I had cold feet. Discipleship is like that also. We only get "cold feet" about following Jesus when we get out of step in following Him. If we follow directly in His steps, we are protected and strengthened for that next step of discipleship. Jesus says: "Follow in My footsteps" (Mt 16:24).
Prayer: Father, I will "fix [my] eyes on Jesus" (Heb 3:1) forever.
Promise: "You must keep His statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you today, that you and your children after you may prosper." —Dt 4:40
Praise: It was through devotion to prayer that St. Dominic and his monks were able to bear fruit in the spreading of God's word.
(This teaching was submitted by one of our editors.)
Nihil obstat: Reverend Richard L. Klug, February 27, 2003
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 3, 2003
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