In today’s Gospel from St. Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples that “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 does it mean to lose one’s life for Jesus’ sake. Certainly he is not talking about physical death – most of us will not be killed for our faith. So Jesus must be speaking of another form of death.
In Immortal Diamond, Richard Rohr writes:
In one way or another, almost all religions say that you must die before you die, and then you will know what dying means – and what it does not mean! Your usual viewing platform is utterly inadequate to see what it real. It is largely useless to talk about the very ground of your being, your True Self, or your deepest soul until you have made real contact with these at least once. That demands dying to the old viewing platform of the mental ego and the False Self. There is just no way around that….Anything less than death of the False Self is useless religion. The False Self must die for the True Self to live.
I have to die to myself to rise in Christ, to be able to say as Paul does, that it is no longer I but Christ who live in me. (Galatians 2:20)