Jesus said in reply,
“You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
They said to him, “We can.”
“My chalice you will indeed drink,
but to sit at my right and at my left,
this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” – Matthew 20.22 – 23
This unflattering glimpse into the power-plays of Jesus’ disciples, and a particularly motivated mother, is a reminder that when it comes to God and spirituality, human beings are rarely free from mixed motivations.
In fact, mixed motivations are all the more subtle on the spiritual journey. Our fasting and attentiveness to our inner dynamics in Lent can help us see our hidden, unconscious motivations. And not only see, but also dissipate.
Can we ever not want anything for ourselves from God or the spiritual journey? Can we just be on the the spiritual journey just for the sake of the journey and not for our self-improvement? Can we just love God for the love of God?
When we look carefully and objectively at our inner life, we often will discover there are plenty of mixed motivations in our spiritual life – especially if we are “getting something” from our spiritual life (insights, comfort, praise, success, joy, a vocation, etc.). In Lent, we are reminded to be alert and keep watch that such consolations and blessings of goodness don’t become more important to us than the Source from which they come.
Yes, you might get the chalice. But in the Christ-Way, the chalice also comes with the cross. Not because God doesn’t like us; rather, because we need both the chalice and cross, consolation and desolation, to help us develop and mature in our love for God and denouement of self.
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