Day 26/50 of Eastertide (Holy Fifty Days) – Self-denial is the very essence of Christianity (kenosis) – Fr. Matthew the Poor

For man to follow the Lord, he has to first pursue the intentional death, the denial of self, so that he is able to carry the cross that is given him.

Inner death is hard, harder than outer death. Self-denial, renouncing and putting to death the sinful nature, is more difficult than bearing the humiliations, injustices and tribulations of outer death. He who is able to deny and renounce himself is able to bear the worst humiliations and even be joyful in them. The one who loves his life and pampers it might be able to bear humiliation once or twice, but he could never bear it daily!

It is easy for the one who succeeds in embracing inner death to carry his cross every day, no matter how heavy it is. He follows the Lord not to judgement but to Golgotha and then to the Kingdom and will be where Christ is. To practice the inner death of self is in truth to practice the life of a dead man!

It is required of us that we be dead regarding ourselves and other people and be alive to Christ, and this should affect every though, every action and everything else in life: “that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Cor 5:15).

Practicing the outer death that is unintentional comes as we focus on and find the reality of the inner death. Have we actually died to ourselves, our bodies and the world? If the unintentional death conforms to the intentional death, then that is the greatest proof to man that he lives with Christ!

How great is our need to accept unintentional death? It is the very essence of the Christian life. It is the resurrection: “Follow me.”

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus… who emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant (inner death) He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (accepting the final outer death)” (Phil 2:5-8).

[Fr Matta El-Meskeen, Christ is Risen Truly He has Risen]

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