Here is something I read today in the Divine Office during morning prayer:
"Whoever hates his life in this world keeps it safe for life everlasting."
This was an antiphon from the "Common of One Martyr" and it struck me. (It was read today because we honor John I, Pope and Martyr from the 6th century.)
What does it mean to hate one's life?
What rings true for me now is accepting with humility, grace and dignity unpleasant situations that may come my way. If there is hatred... or judgment... or misunderstanding... or misrepresentation... I must simply bear it. I cannot hold with a tight fist what I wish for others to think of me. I can get lost in the battle to defend my life now... or I can choose to turn my life over to Christ with hope for life everlasting.
Later I read this in the Canticle of Zechariah:
You, my child, shall be called the Prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people the knowledge of salvation and the forgiveness of their sins.
I marvelled at the great privilege St. John the Baptist was given... and then realized the privilege came with a great cross to bear as well. He was ostracized and eventually beheaded. Sometimes privileges and hardships go hand in hand. If I follow Christ, am I willing to accept unpleasantries with dignity and humility? Lord, may it be so!