The Hardness of the Way

Children, how hard is it!

— St. Mark 10:24

I ask the youth, “Have you been keeping the commandments?” “I will not dare to say that,” I suppose him to answer. “But,” I ask, “Does your answer imply that, counting the Lord a hard master, you have taken the less pains to do as he would have you? Or that, bending your energies to the absolute perfection he requires, you have the more perceived the impossibility of fulfilling the law? Have you, filled with desire to be perfect, gone kneeling to the Master to learn more of the way to eternal life? Or are you so well satisfied with what you are, that you have never hungered and thirsted after the righteousness of God, the perfection of your being? If so, then be comforted; the Master does not require of you to sell what you have and give to the poor. You follow him!  Bring him a true heart, an obedient hand: he has given his life-blood for that; but your money—he neither needs it nor cares for it. Go and keep the commandments. They are enough for you. When in keeping them you have found the great reward of loving righteousness, and that with all the energy you can put forth you are but an unprofitable servant; when you are aware of a something beyond all that your mind can think, yet not beyond what your heart can desire—a something that seems as if it never could be yours, which yet your life is worthless without; when you have come therefore to the Master with the cry, “What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” it may be he will then say to you, “Sell all that you have and give to the poor, and come follow me.”