It was difficult for the disciples to hear Jesus say that he must suffer and die in Jerusalem. They were shocked by this disclosure. One minute Peter is declaring that Jesus is the “Son of the living God” and the next minute Peter is hearing that Jesus will “be killed and on the third day be raised.” Peter doesn’t want to hear such news and tries to dissuade Jesus. Jesus rebukes Peter by saying: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of humans.”
When we meditate on this passage we have to admit that we, too, struggle to understand the mind of God as did Peter. We naturally view things in human terms, not divine terms. The call to discipleship, however, is both a privilege and a challenge. We grow close to God as Benedict directs us through prayer and work. Because of this intimate relationship with God, Jesus calls us friends.
The challenge comes as we journey along the path that leads to a significant relationship with God. It is the journey outlined in the Gospel. It is a journey that is other centered and leads to love for God, self, others and the world. Many times on this journey our human wisdom will be confronted by the mystery of divine wisdom. God’s desire is that our vision be expanded and sometimes this can be painful. However, we will gain wisdom as we allow God to form a new heart within us.
The path to this deeper relationship with God is the path of obedience. In Chapter 4 of the Holy Rule Benedict states, “The first step of humility is unhesitating obedience, which comes naturally to those who cherish Christ above all.” Through obedience we will become beacons reflecting the glory of God. The joy and strength we gain on this journey more than compensates for the price of discipleship. We can certainly become beloved friends of God by allowing God to work in our hearts each day.