Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace.
So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The Ignatian practice of indifference helps us understand Jesus’ seemingly harsh message today. Indifference is freedom from anything that impedes our ability to love God, others, and ourselves. This stance creates freedom for that which enables us to love and live fully.
Cultivating indifference requires us to reflect on our relationships, our priorities, and our passions, but not because they are bad or meaningless. Rather, since everything is a gift, we must understand our loves within the context of God’s love. We can be passionate about these gifts while simultaneously being ready to let them go and knowing that God’s love continues flowing.
We should consider, too, that Jesus’ repeated indictments against hoarding possessions are not merely metaphors. Both Jesus and St. Ignatius name materialism as a particularly challenging impediment to discipleship—an attachment that pulls us away from God’s call for us.
What attachments prevent me from feeling free to follow Christ?
—Katie Davis (MDiv, Loyola University Chicago) is a former Jesuit Volunteer/JVC Magis currently working as a Chaplain and Religious Studies teacher at St. Ignatius College Prep. She has served on the Advisory Board for Jesuit Connections and is a member of the Chicago Women’s Team for the Ignatian Spirituality Project. Katie preaches with the project Catholic Women Preach.
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,|
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.
—Suscipe of St. Ignatius of Loyola
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