the best for last
"And with that he died." —Acts 7:60
When we know the risen Christ personally and deeply, our love for Him is stronger than the fear of death (see Sg 8:6; 1 Jn 3:16; 4:18). Satan can no longer enslave, control, or paralyze us through our fear of death (Heb 2:15). Like Stephen, we will speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15), even if it means being martyred. Like Paul, we will consider it a privilege (Phil 1:29) to bear our "share of the hardship which the gospel entails" (2 Tm 1:8) and even to risk our lives daily for love of Jesus (1 Cor 15:31).
Only when we believe in and love the risen Christ will we lay down our lives for Him, for the Church (Eph 5:25), and for our brothers and sisters (1 Jn 3:16). Only when we lay down our lives will we bear much fruit (Jn 12:24). Only when we love enough to die will we live and give life to the full. "Continually we carry about in our bodies the dying of Jesus, so that in our bodies the life of Jesus may also be revealed. While we live we are constantly being delivered to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh" (2 Cor 4:10-11).
Do you love Jesus? Do you believe He is risen from the dead? Do you believe He will raise you? Do you love Him enough to die for Him? We live to prepare to die, for dying is the most important event and crowning glory of our lives. Live and love to die and rise.
Prayer: Father, may my death be Your greatest work in my life.
Promise: "God's bread comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." —Jn 6:33
Praise: St. Peter cured the paralytic Aeneas in the town of Lydda, and all of its inhabitants "were converted to the Lord" (Acts 9:35). Some 250 years later, St. George, a citizen of Lydda, bore additional fruit from Peter's healing by giving up his life to witness to his faith in Jesus.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, October 10, 1995
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 13, 1995