“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Our Lord reminds us of the importance of being his disciple and the cost of discipleship. Our Heavenly Father commands and invites us to believe, listen and follow his Son Jesus who is our surest hope and joy, our rock and salvation, our peace and deliverance, our breath and necessity. If we truly want to enter into Heaven, into God’s perpetual presence, into the Kingdom of God, we must consider and contemplate three important things we must do to become more fully the beloved children we have been recreated to be, the faithful disciples we have been called to become and the glorious temples of God we already are. We must prefer God over our ourselves and our own family. We must carry our cross no matter how heavy we perceive it to be or know it to be. We must renounce all possessions including material or superficial, relational or individual, interior or external. With the help of God’s grace, the conditions and cost of discipleship can become a way of life, a life in Christ. God’s grace can help us to see and experience that it is truly better to prefer God over ourselves and our family because God loves us better than ourselves and our family. He only wants what is truly best, holy and good for us. He doesn’t call us to hate our family. God asks us to love our families. But to love him, who is the source and essence of love itself, with all our heart, soul, mind, body, strength and being first, then to love our family, friends, neighbors and enemies with his love for who can love better than love itself? Without God, true love is impossible for God is love and love is God. God will even help us to carry our own cross, then to follow him.  Our cross represents our sinfulness. God’s Cross represents love and mercy, pardon and peace, fidelity and intimacy. God’s Cross is way heavier than our cross and yet he carries his and helps us to carry ours as well. Carrying our cross requires love and love requires obedience and willingness to do God’s will which is simply loving God in all things. Our gracious Lord will even help us to renounce our possessions and all that possess us. Not just money and social media but the things we own and carry in our heart – unforgiveness, pride, greed, lust, pain. God can help you to separate from all those things and unite you to the only thing that really matters which is being and remaining in God’s love.  Fr. Ivan