August 5, 2011 Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time. Gaining The World and Forfeiting Life

Scripture readings for today's Mass are here

Gospel Matthew 16 : 24-28

 "Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?

Or what can one give in exchange for his life?

For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay each according to his conduct.

Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here
who will not taste death
until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”

Image source

Swedish  Dag Hammarskjold was Secretary General Of The United Nations for two terms between 1953 and 1961.

He died in a plane crash in Rhodesia while on an official UN peace mission. 
Hammarskjold was a Christian and a man of deep faith who struggled deeply with the difficulties of how to live out that faith in the marketplace of the world. 

"Markings", was his private and posthumously published journal of thoughts. Reading this book at the age of 16 had a huge influence on my life and remains one of my favourite books. 

 Here's a few quotes to ponder...

The cross confronts every one of us is some shape or form at some time.

Dare he, for whom circumstances make it possible to realize his
true destiny, refuse it simply because he is not prepared to give up
everything else?

You have not done enough, you have never done enough, so long as
it is still possible that you have something of value to contribute.
This is the answer when you are groaning under what you consider a
burden and an uncertainty prolonged ad infinitum.

  When the mornings freshness has been replaced by the weariness of
  midday, when the leg muscles quiver under the strain, the climb seems
  endless, and, suddenly, nothing will go quite as you wish- it is then
  that you must not hesitate.

What next? Why ask? Next will come a demand about which you already
know all you need to know: that its sole measure is your own strength.

At every moment you choose yourself. But do you choose _your_ self?
Body and soul contain a thousand possibilities out of which you can
build many I's. But in only one of them is there a congruence of the
elector and the elected. 
Only one - which you will never find until you have excluded all those superficial and fleeting possibilities of
being and doing with which you toy, out of curiosity or wonder or
greed, and which hinder you from casting anchor in the experience of
the mystery of life, and the consciousness of the talent entrusted
to you which is your I.
We are not permitted to choose the frame of our destiny. But what we
put into it is ours. He who wills adventure will experience it -according
to the measure of his courage. He who wills sacrifice will be sacrificed-
according to the measure of his purity of heart.

Dag Hammmarskjold

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