|Every day we make commitments. Some are new ones, formulated over our morning coffee, and some are existing ones we are trying to honor, even though we may have made them months, years or decades ago. We are challenged each and every day to remain true to our commitments, but they are so easy to break and so tough to keep.
Think about all the times we vowed to exercise more or to eat less. We were resolute in your conviction, but within weeks or maybe only days, we were back to our old habits. Or, was our vow to be more Christ-like, maybe to follow the example of St. Ignatius and do our daily Exam of Conscience, come rain or shine? How many times were we able to remain true to this solemn vow, this desire of ours to do something of great importance?
Maybe that is what Jesus was intimating when he warned the disciples about the challenges they would face if they agreed to pledge their very lives to his Gospel. The road would be steep and difficult, full of twists and turns that would cause many to lose their way. Had the disciples, like the builders, calculated the true cost of their commitment? Or, were the disciples more like the generals, who realized they might face an insurmountable enemy, and therefore, chose to sue for peace instead of war?
Breaking a vow is humiliating. It makes us feel weak and can hurt those who were depending on us to be true to our word. So how do we, in today’s world, respond to the challenges of discipleship? Do we measure the builder’s costs of being true and faithful to God’s message, or do we rush in unaware of how big Satan’s army is?
Fortunately for us, we have a forgiving God, one who knows our weaknesses and understands that we will stumble and fall repeatedly. Our God extends his hand, to pull us up when our promise of unvarying discipleship falters, helping us to be true to his commandments and his teaching.
Let us approach this day and every day recommitted to our goals and aspirations to improve our personal lives and communities, to better the lives of those with whom we interact, and most importantly, to deepen our relationship with Christ. Let us commit – with courage and excitement – to live a faith-filled life we can be proud of. For despite our frequent stumbles, God is continually there to inspire us to persevere.
And, if our goal is to be more Christ-like in our personal lives, then maybe we, too, should be more understanding of others for we are not alone in the challenge to remain true to our goals and commitments. When our family, friends or co-workers stumble, we can extend a helping hand and support them in their efforts, just as Christ does for us, each and every day.