THE NARROW WAY
"Make every effort to
enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter
and will not be able to."
The life in the world looks
more like the wide road that leads to damnation; for it seems to be filled
with worldly pleasures, comforts, conveniences and indulging of the flesh.
It really looks like a way of life that is easy and wide. Even the life of
those living in destitution has some elements of easiness in it in that they
can still do a lot of what they want to do
The narrow way is called such
because it is a way of life of total self-denial in obedience to the command
of Christ who said: "Deny yourself." It is a way of life wherein
you must never choose the things you want but rather continuously look for
what God wants. It is doing God's will rather than my will. That is so
against fallen human nature, that the way of life is described as the narrow
way. Evidently, both the rich and the poor do much of what they want in the
world, unmindful of what God wants.
St. John Chrysostom described
this narrow way as the monastic life, defined as a way of life for lay
people who are seriously seeking God. Monastic life is described as the
easiest, fastest and shortest way to live the fullness of the Gospel . . .
which, by the way, is the obligation of every Christian if he is to attain
eternal life. But in spite of being the easiest, fastest and shortest way,
it is still the narrow way in that no one who enters the monastery is
allowed to do his own will.
So when Christ said ". .
.many will try to enter the narrow way but will not succeed. . ." He
was not using the word "many" to refer to people in the world who
are not seeking or those in the world who are seeking to enter. He was
referring to people who live in the monastery-- many who enter the monastery
to enter the narrow door that leads to heaven will not succeed in entering,
only a few will do so. If, even inside monasteries, only a few will be
saved, how many will be saved, do you think, outside in the world?
"Lord, are only a few
people going to be saved?" Christ's answer is tantamount to this: Even
in monasteries where everybody is already trying to enter the narrow way,
only a few will be saved. Many will not be saved.
And so Christ, when inviting
us to enter by the narrow way, tells us, when we do so, to make sure we are
not among the many who try to enter the narrow way but do not succeed. We
must try hard to be among the few who try to enter and make it. And who are
these few? The wise virgins with lighted lamps and ample supply of oil,
which is the symbol of Christians who have repented for all their sins, who
have a complete knowledge of the commands of Christ and how to observe them
and who have used all their personal resources in the performance of good