“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are true” (Mt 7:13-14).
Jesus meets us where we are in our present state of life. He accepts us as we are in this very moment. At the same time, Jesus does not want us to just settle, to be minimalists and merely get by, surviving day by day. Instead he guides us to be fully actualized. He calls us to perfection, to holiness, to be saints! He sees in us, as he did in his disciples and apostles, the promise of our potential and who his Father calls us to be. We each have a unique gift or gifts to offer to the world, each and every one of us.
Entering the narrow gate means that we need to say no to those apparent goods and half truths that will in the end, burden us, weigh us down, and ultimately lead us to emptiness. To pass through the narrow gate, we need to say yes to that which will truly bring us happiness, fulfillment, and freedom and this means we need to say no to supporting our false ego and our slavery to sin; to fear, anxiety, and worry such that we turn in on ourselves. We need to instead be willing to expand and go out from ourselves and will the good of and accompany others.
Let us spend some quiet time in prayer today with Jesus, seeking and discerning his will and listening for his guidance. Allow those burdens of worry, anxiety, or fear; pride, judgement, or prejudice; sinful actions, habits, or addictions to surface, so we can say no and begin let go of them. This will not be a one time, done now for all activity, but a daily, disciplined commitment. We also will not be able to enter the narrow gate and stay on the path alone.
We need to continually open our heart to the Holy Spirit to give us the courage to do so. In our time of prayer, imagine placing our hand in Jesus’ hand and allowing him to lead us off the broad road that leads us to sin and destruction, so to pass through the narrow gate with him that will lead us to experience the love, mercy, and grace of our loving God and Father. What Jesus leads us to do, he will also give us the strength and resources to bring to completion, which ultimately will be a life of communion with God and one another.