There was, among the desert fathers, a man who often cried aloud during his prayers: “I have died to the world!” He did so very loudly and very regularly so that the other fathers began to anticipate hearing the man in his prayers call out, “I have died to the world.” Some were inspired by this and began to cry the affirmation out in their own prayers while others were a little annoyed by it.
One day an older father was walking with a young disciple and they heard the man in his prayers call out, “I have died to the world! I have died to the world!”
The older turned to the younger and said, “Let me offer some advice: Don’t be so sure you’ve died until you’re dead.”
To quote Miracle Max in “The Princess Bride”, “There’s a difference between mostly dead and all dead.” The process of sanctification, dying to the world and becoming alive in Christ, being more and more conformed to his image, is a lifelong one. Christian perfection is something we must ever strive for as disciples but we must always do so, as the Apostle Paul says, “with fear and trembling.” Sin is always lurking somewhere in the recesses of our hearts ready to mount a comeback and all it needs is a little pride. To walk in the way of Jesus is to constantly be dying to the world and being born anew in him. We are called to walk this way with humility, knowing that as long as we are living, there is always more dying to be done.
Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear…