If we preach the Gospel in its entirety, if we continue Christ’s work which has become a countersign in today’s world, we shall encounter misunderstanding, rejection, and persecution.  Jesus prepares us for this in advance when He warns: “The reason the world hates you is that you do not belong to the world… Remember what I told you:  No slave is greater than his master.  They will harry you as they harried Me.”

                We can survive the indifference and the hostility of those who do not want their consciences troubled by Jesus and His teaching only by being so closely united with Him that His strength becomes ours.  By ourselves we cannot endure very long.  But if we unite ourselves with Jesus, we shall be able to say with St. Paul: “I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I live now is not my own.  Christ is living in me…”  This close union with Jesus is not just something for a specially chosen people alone.  Rather, it is something Jesus is eager to share with every one of us.

                We enter this close union with Jesus by totally abandoning ourselves to Him, by placing ourselves in His hand so that we can be instruments of His love and mercy, and by constantly nourishing our union with Him through prayer.  Prayer is a marvelous reality which can truly transform our lives.  Its ultimate goal, of course, is to bring us into closer union with Jesus.  In doing this, however, it also helps us come to a better knowledge of ourselves and relate in a more loving, intimate way to others.

                To be a follower of Jesus, then, one must be a person of prayer.  Authentic prayer will deeply affect how we perceive and deal with ourselves and with others.  How often do we pray?  Can we spend more time in prayer?  It will have a tremendous effect in our lives and would give, for all to see, a credible and compelling witness to the reality that with Jesus, all things are possible.