Strait is the gate

by abbamoses

On the occasion of the upcoming Nativity Fast:

Enter by the narrow gate.
For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction,
and those who enter by it are many.
For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life,
and those who find it are few.

— Matthew 7:13–14 (ESV)

It would be foolish to call this my “favorite” passage in scripture, but it may be for me the most haunting: I’ve written it on the front pages of several bibles and prayer books.

Sitting with it can make a Christian ask himself:
Have I entered by the narrow gate?
Have I even found it?
Have I even sought it?

Years ago I briefly attended a seminary that, to put it kindly, had an “easy way” view of Christianity. Once I overheard two of my fellow seminarians saying that they were “uncomfortable” with this passage, since it could be “misused.” Certainly it can be misused, but even then I couldn’t help wondering what they thought its proper use might be. I wish I’d had the courage to ask them.

Not long ago I read a Christian’s reflection on the issues surrounding the spread of Islam in Europe, in which he said that we should be worried less about full mosques than about empty churches. I’d go on to say that no external enemies of the Church will ever do as much harm as the acceptance of a light and easy Christianity.

Ours is an ascetical Faith, a Faith of the daily cross. There is no other authentic Christian Faith.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.