10 Minute Daily Retreat - Read the Daily Gospel with a prayerful heart.
Prepared by Susanne Timpani (No.156)
Gospel Reading: Mark 8:27-35
'Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.' (v 35)
[At last,]'Christians in Rome were no longer thrown to the lions; but still those captured in war had to fight and kill each other to make a Roman holiday for the populace. Still men roared with blood lust as the gladiators fought.
Telemachus [a desert monk] found his way to the arena. There were eighty-thousand people there. The chariot races were ending; and there was a tenseness in the crowd as the gladiators prepared to fight. Into the arena they came with their greeting. "Hail, Caesar! We who are about to die salute you!"
The fight was on and Telemachus was appalled. Men for whom Christ had died were killing each other to amuse an allegedly Christian populace. He leapt the barrier. He was in between the gladiators, and for a moment they stopped. "Let the games go on," roared the crowd.
They pushed the old man aside; he was still in his hermit's robes. Again he came between them. The crowd began to hurl stones at him; they urged the gladiators to kill him and get him out of the way. The commander of the games gave an order; a gladiator's sword rose and flashed; and Telemachus lay dead.
Suddenly the crowd were silent. They were suddenly shocked that a holy man should have been killed in such a way. Suddenly there was a mass realization of what this killing really was. The games ended abruptly that day--and they never began again. Telemachus, by dying, had ended them.
As Gibbon said of him, "His death was more useful to mankind than his life." By losing his life he had done more than ever he could have done by husbanding it out in lonely devotion in the desert.
God gave us life to spend and not to keep. If we live carefully, always thinking first of our own profit, ease, comfort, security, if our sole aim is to make life as long and as trouble-free as possible, if we will make no effort except for ourselves, we are losing life all the time.
But if we spend life for others, if we forget health and time and wealth and comfort in our desire to do something for Jesus and for the [people] for whom Jesus died, we are winning life all the time.' (William Barclay)
5 minutes: READ the text slowly.
REFLECT on a phrase or word that struck you.
SPEAK to God about your thoughts.
5 minutes: LISTEN to God speak to you.
RESPOND with a prayer that feels right for you.