"Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matt 10:38).
How many decisions have you made in your life? If we look back over the narrative of our lives, most of us will discover that we have only made a few decisions, and that the rest of our journey has been living out the implications of those decisions. We are born into a family and culture that carries us forward to early adulthood. Even the decisions we make -- like the friends we have and the school we attend -- are heavily influenced by family, location, the expectations of others. But real life-stage decisions await us as we separate from family, leave home, choose a career, a life partner, discern and internalize the basic principles and values we will live by.
In today's Gospel, we get a glimpse of the cost of discipleship as Jesus tells his followers that they must make him their highest priority. They must "lose" the familiar identity and lives assigned to them by all other forces that have shaped them. The root of the word "to decide" is to cut. A decisive person cuts away every other option from the one he or she will choose. All their energy and devotion is focused on what they have decided to do, and other possibilities are set aside for the sake of this path.
Crossing this threshold is the most important moment in our story. Blessed are those who hear the call deep from within to follow the will of God, who then make this their highest priority and arrange their priorities around this pursuit. This whole-hearted choice is the essence of discipleship.
Today we celebrate the life of St. Benedict. He abandoned everything to pursue a life focused on God. His decision cost him everything but also opened up a whole world not just for him but for the many who came after him and responded to the same call to a life of prayer and work for the sake of God and the church. Each of us has this same challenge before us. Whatever we decide and whatever the cost, it is the one thing necessary for a life of purposes and fulfillment.