“Jesus is the Lord of my life.” That was a common statement in the evangelical Christian church I attended 25 years ago, before I returned to the Catholic Church in 1988. Meditating on the Feast of Christ the King this past week, I wondered why Catholics don’t use that kind of language more often when we describe our relationship with Christ. After all, is making Jesus the Lord of one’s life only a Protestant concept?
Not according to Joseph Ratzinger, who says something very similar in his book of Advent sermons entitled, What It Means To Be A Christian:
Becoming a Christian…is just this: achieving a Copernican revolution and no longer seeing ourselves as the center of the universe, around which everything else must turn…instead of that we have begun to accept quite seriously that we are one of many among God’s creatures, all of which turn around God as their center.
My relationship with God is thus meant to cause a Copernican revolution in my life, where I awaken to the reality of a personal God and make Him the center of my universe, letting everything in my life orbit around Him. Such a revolution is called “faith,” which is not just an intellectual assent to articles of the Creed, but the full surrender of my entire self to the living God, including my mind, my will, and everything else in my life.
I underwent such a Copernican revolution in my early twenties, when I gave my life to Christ. But a recurring revolution occurs daily in my walk with God, as I offer my life and myself to Him and honestly examine what gods I am placing at the center of my world on any given day. So often, I fall prey to three “lords” that I must continually renounce: what I possess, what I can do and what people think of me. Those are the gods this world prizes most, and, sadly, they are often the standard by which I measure both my own self worth and the value of others.
Thankfully, God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Is. 55:8). While the world around us screams: “You’re not enough, you don’t have enough, you don’t do enough,” God whispers, “You are My beloved child, on you My favor rests.” While the world encourages us to compete frantically to fit in, buy in and measure up, God says: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest,” (Mt. 11:28).
I am increasingly aware of how tired I am of the world’s false measures, and how much I desire to be set free from the burden of carrying them. So I invite Jesus to come more deeply into my being, asking that more of His love inhabit my small temple. This process of ongoing conversion—a conscious, constant Christ uprising—turns me away from false gods toward the living God, who is Love. It places the one, true Lord on the throne of my heart, where He is anxious to lay His crown.
Interestingly, the word conversion, which means the change of a measuring system, also means changing one’s beliefs. Maybe that’s because our beliefs change when we change our measuring system. Conversion is a “radical reorientation of our lives toward God.”* It recalibrates our entire understanding of reality, changing our measuring system from the world’s stifling scales to the infinite expanse of God's love, which knows no bounds. When that happens, I trust that my significance and meaning lies in God’s love for me and not in any manmade gauge of performance.
So let us ask today: Is Jesus the Lord of my life? Is He is the center of my life, around which everything turns and by which everything else is measured? To live in such a stance is what it means to be a Christian. To live in an opposing posture makes us a slave to the world's tyranny. It's one or the other.
Let us pray:
Lord Jesus Christ, I surrender my life to you and I place my mind, my will, my heart and everything in my life under your Kingship and your authority. I give myself to you and ask you to take possession of me. Change me, that I may live in the truth of your love and reflect that love in our broken world. Thank you Lord for your love, mercy and kindness. Amen.
*Catechism of the Catholic Church, Glossary