If we are brutally honest, most Catholics must concede we view the world as if we stood at the centre of the universe with everyone and everything else revolving around us.
This egocentric stance affects how we think, feel, act, and pray. Even though many committed disciples have renounced a ruthless pursuit of power and money to serve God and His people, most of us still function more conscious of self than God, living daily life in a state of interior isolation, not in communion with the Holy Spirit.
What this self-centred viewpoint meant in my own life was I only appeared saintly on the surface as I mothered nine little people. Despite the fact I honestly longed to live in constant communion with the Holy Spirit, I was focused more on myself than on Christ.
The truth is, even when we are praying, we can still remain anchored in our egos. There is a profound difference between a person who is self-conscious, self-aware, sitting on a hilltop praising God for a gorgeous sunset, and someone who is so lost in the splendour of the moment that they become one with God whom they adore.
From Egocentric to God-Centric
To change from an egocentric to a God-centric life seems impossible. The quandary every human being who is trying to grow spiritually must tackle eventually is, “How do I die to my false self?” Even if I want to deny myself because I realise this is the price of serious discipleship, I don’t know how.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done. Matthew 16:24-27
At first glance, this Gospel seems like another one of Christ’s riddles, specifically coined to drive ordinary mortals crazy. Jesus tells us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. When we do die to our false selves, we are promised we will actually find our true selves. In an attempt to become dedicated disciples, young Christians inevitably attempt great acts of self-denial, prayer, and almsgiving before they realise even religious devotions can be centred on self, on what I am doing for God. Most of us have still not died to our old life and found our true life hidden in God.
Living At The Centre of the Universe.
Christians are invited by the Lord to empty ourselves of ourselves to make room for His Life to dwell in us. The God of the entire universe lived as a mortal and died for our sinful, false selves. He is the saviour; He will save us from ourselves. Once we let go of pride and become one with the Mystical Body of Christ, then we are no longer at the centre of our awareness. Saints simply stand among the crowd of believers, both the living and the dead, worshipping in freedom and in truth with God at the centre of all creation.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20