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New Life Means Dying

April 19th, 2012by Bill Tonnis

Psalm 102:2: Lord, hear my prayer; let my cry come to you.

I cry out. I want all my needs met. This is my childhood program for happiness that refuses to let go. But it must go for me to truly live! My ego will never be satisfied as it will always demand more.

As I was sitting in prayer mulling over the psalm verse above, I heard a voice in my heart say, “Yes, I know your needs…but what about the needs of those around you? What if you tried to satisfy their needs and then perhaps your needs would be satisfied as well?”

Letting go of my ego’s desires will feel like dying. In the words of Jesus: “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” (Matthew 16:24-25).

So how do I know if I am listening to the voice of my ego (small-self, false-self, self-centered self) or the silent, gentle voice of God in the stillness of my heart? Prayer, prayer, and more prayer!

I’m no expert…but I know it takes practice. God is speaking but are we taking the time to turn off the noise…the constant distractions, the sensory overload, the endless chatter of our minds…and sit in the sacred silence of God? How can God lead us to true, personal growth and wholeness (new life) if we aren’t listening?

A good place to start listening would be after receiving the Eucharist or by spending some time before the Blessed Sacrament at Eucharistic Adoration. If you can, send five to ten minutes in silence each morning and again in the evening. God’s voice will always lead you to action in the name of compassion and justice.

Jesus said that the two greatest Commandments are to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. If we did nothing else but that we would be experiencing new life. We would be engaged in a moment by moment process of allowing our egos to die so that Christ could live more fully in us.

When we are in this process, we truly are “not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34)

Bill Tonnis

Bill Tonnis is the Director of Youth & Outreach Ministries at Our Lady of the Visitation Parish. He is single and a parishioner at St. Monica St. George Parish in Clifton.