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"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
To be disciples of Jesus, we must deny ourselves and take up His cross daily (Lk 9:23). In effect, we must lose our lives (Mt 16:25). We no longer operate independently, but obediently. We don't do our thing, but His thing. We have been crucified with Christ and the lives we live are no longer our own (Gal 2:19-20).
Although the cost of discipleship is so high, deep down we sense that only by losing our lives as disciples of Jesus will we find the meaning and fulfillment of life (Mt 16:25). At the same time, we are hesitant to make the great act of faith necessary to be Jesus' disciple. Jesus is aware of our problem. As He was hanging on the cross, He provided Mary as our mother and major discipler (see Jn 19:26-27). She will intercede for us and prophesy to us (see Acts 1:14, 2:4) so that we will decide to pay the cost of discipleship. She will lead us to obey her Son (see Jn 2:5).
However, Jesus does not force us to accept His mother as our mother. We must decide. Traditionally, we accept another's help in discipleship by putting on that person's cloak (see 1 Kgs 19:19). That is the meaning of the scapular. It represents Mary's cloak. Wearing it means we accept Jesus' plan for discipleship and will pay the cost of discipleship. Wear your scapular and live its meaning.
Prayer: Father, may I let Mary influence me as she influenced Jesus.
Promise: "See, upon the mountains there advances the bearer of good news, announcing peace!" —Na 2:1
Praise: Joe loved Jesus with his whole heart, but had closed his heart to Mary. Then he realized that he had been snubbing His Lord's mother. He asked Jesus and Mary for forgiveness, and now prays the rosary with his children.
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 23, 2016
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