w.w.j.d. — "what would jesus deny?"
"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
Jesus has clearly told us that His followers must deny themselves. The trend today is to de-emphasize this. "Offering it up" is replaced by "living it up." Fasting is forgotten or minimized. Hair shirts are relics and curiosities. Instead of "biting our tongues," we have "sound bites." We are programmed into believing that self-indulgence, not self-denial, is the goal of life.
However, Jesus takes self-denial so seriously that He mentions it in the same breath as taking up our cross and losing our lives (Mt 16:24-25). Paul, following Jesus, stated: "What I do is discipline my own body and master it, for fear that after having preached to others I myself should be rejected" (1 Cor 9:27). Paul counseled that Christians have more reason to deny themselves than do professional athletes who are training for a major competition (1 Cor 9:25). He commanded us: "Train yourself for the life of piety, for while physical training is to some extent valuable, the discipline of religion is incalculably more so, with its promise of life here and hereafter" (1 Tm 4:7-8).
Seek God's will regarding self-denial in your life. Then love and sacrifice accordingly.
Prayer: Father, teach me to fast.
Promise: "See, upon the mountains there advances the bearer of good news, announcing peace!" —Na 2:1
Praise: St. Edith had to deny her very family in accepting Jesus as Messiah (see Lk 14:26).
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet, The Secret of Fasting, or on audio AV 46-1 or video V-46.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 7, 2002
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 12, 2002