IF CHRIST had to empty himself if only to be like us and with us, should we not also try to reciprocate the same process of emptying ourselves so that we can be like him and be with him?
St. Paul precisely had this in mind when he clearly said in his Letter to the Philippians: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men…” (2,5-7)
To empty ourselves the way Christ emptied himself is not anymore an optional thing. It is a necessity if we truly want to follow Christ, if we truly believe in him and love him, and if we show that love by loving everybody else also.
There’s no other way. Because of our unavoidable tendency to fill ourselves with our own egos, no matter how good we feel we are, we need to go through this process of self-emptying.
We can be so full of ourselves, helplessly cocooned in our own world, completely at the mercy of our social, economic, political, and other human conditionings, that we practically cut ourselves off from God, and then from others.
Thus, Christ himself commanded us that: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Lk 9,23) This self-denial is precisely the self-emptying that we need to go through.
Every day we need to have clear instances of practicing this self-denial and self-emptying. No day should pass without doing some self-denial and self-emptying. We can never say that we can have some good days when we can remain good without having to do some self-denial and self-emptying. That just is not possible, given the way we are.
This truth should be clear to everyone. Self-denial and self-emptying should be an integral part of our day. Our life will not be a Christian life, or a life with Christ, if we do not practice some self-denial and self-emptying.
We surely will fail to develop our spiritual and supernatural life with Christ without some self-denial and self-emptying. We would be at the mercy of the erratic impulses of our flesh, the deceptive allures of the world and the wiles of the devil if we fail to have some self-denial and self-emptying.
We need to learn how to deny and empty ourselves in order to fill ourselves with God and with his love which is the only authentic love that we can have. And this concern will be a never-ending affair in our whole lifetime, because our heart will always be an arena of the lifelong struggle between God and ourselves.
To be sure, this self-emptying in order to be filled with God’s love is not a matter of running away from our earthly affairs, which will always be in need of material resources. It’s rather a matter of making sure that our earthly and temporal affairs do not convert into our end and god themselves, but rather as means to develop our love for God, and with that love, also our love for others.
Christ assures us that if we have the proper priorities in life, everything will just be fine. “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” he said, “and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Mt 6,33)
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