This post was written by Eunice and was originally published on Canadian Catholic, where she is a contributor.
On a recent road trip with a couple of co-workers, we were listening to Audrey Assad’s ‘I Shall Not Want.’ One guy in the car turns to another guy, having just heard this song (and prayer) for the first time and says, “Isn’t that a little extreme?” The guy who knew the song goes on to tell the other guy about the wondrous Litany of Humility (from herein referred to as the most frightening prayer on earth).
Sitting in the backseat watching the rivers pass us by on the highway west, I thought about that question. Isn’t that a little extreme?
I think back to Jesus’ first call of the disciples. It says in Luke 5, Simon Peter, James, and John, “left everything and followed Him.” It doesn’t read, that they packed up their gear into the Subaru and followed Him. It doesn’t read that they went out and fished some more and then asked Jesus the conditions of following Him. No, they left everything and followed Him.
When I look back at the times in my life when Jesus showed up with such clarity that I knew without a doubt in my heart that He was speaking to me, they were moments when I truly gave everything. I dropped my metaphorical ‘nets’ and followed. I broke up with that guy, gave up that exciting travel opportunity, gave up that nap to drive someone home…
In retrospect, little things (some smaller than others), that seemed like everything at the time.
So to answer my coworker’s question, an emphatic, “YES!”, The Litany of Humility is extreme. And you know what? What Jesus asks of us is extreme. If we don’t think so, we’re probably hearing a different version of the gospel message.
His ask is extreme. It is risky. We’re asked to go ALL in. “Risk all your chips!” Jesus says (in not so many words).
But here, in that risk, in that surrender, in that extremism, is our sanctification, and our ultimate call, to follow Him! And He promises us, that the rewards are more glorious that we could ever imagine.
As Peter did years ago, we’re asked to drop our nets.
This Lent, are you giving up a little chocolate, or are you dropping your net? Perhaps your everything is chocolate, in which case, awesome on ya!
Don’t be afraid to get a little extreme. I look at the Olympians who went for gold in the recent Olympics in Sochi. How many sacrifices along the way? How many early mornings at the training centre? How many injuries and ice packs? They chose getting to bed early instead of a night out with friends, drinking green smoothies instead of a burger and fries…all extreme sacrifices for the gold!
So I guess the real question is, do you want to go for gold? Is heaven your ultimate aim?
If your answer is yes, then you’re gonna have to get a little extreme. Giving up chocolate just might not cut it. Sorry folks.
Some extreme ideas:
- Early morning workouts aka wake up at 6 am every morning of Lent for some extra prayer time
- Lift extra weights aka pray the most frightening prayer daily
- Hit the gym more than just on Sundays aka go to daily mass
- Eat healthy food aka make sure the music, t.v., and social media you’re eating glorifies God. (Here’s a post about that.)