The promise of the Holy Eucharist in the synagogue of Capernaum caused discussions and scandals among many of the Lord's followers. Faced with such a marvelous truth, a good part of the disciples stopped following him: "From that time on," recounts St. John in the Gospel of the Mass, "many of the disciples withdrew and no longer walked with him.
Before the wonder of his self-giving to men in the Eucharistic Communion, they responded by turning their backs on him. It is not the crowd, but the disciples who abandon him. The Twelve remain faithful to their Master and Lord. Perhaps they did not understand much that day what the Lord promised them, but they remained with him. Why did they stay? Why were they loyal in that moment of disloyalty? Because they were united to Jesus by a deep friendship, because they dealt with Him daily and had understood that He had words of eternal life, because they loved Him deeply. Where shall we go? Peter said to them when the Lord asked them if they too were going away: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; we have believed and know that you are the Holy One of God.
We Christians live in a privileged time to bear witness to this virtue, fidelity, which is sometimes so little valued. We see how often loyalty in marriage, in our word, fidelity to the doctrine and to the person of Christ is broken. The Apostles show us that this virtue is based on love; they are faithful because they love Christ. It is love that induces them to remain in the midst of defections. Only one of them will betray him, later on, because he stopped loving. This is why Pope John Paul II advises us all: "Seek Jesus by striving for a deep personal faith that informs and guides your whole life; but above all, make it your commitment and your program to love Jesus with a sincere, authentic and personal love. He must be your friend and your support on the path of life. He alone has the words of eternal life. No one else but Him.
As long as we are in this world, the Christian's life is a constant struggle between loving Christ and letting oneself be carried away by lukewarmness, passions or a gentrification that kills all love. Fidelity to Christ is forged every day in the struggle against all that separates us from Him, in the effort to progress in the virtues. Then we will be faithful in good times, and also in difficult times, when it seems that there are few who remain close to the Lord.
To remain steadfastly faithful to the Lord, it is necessary to fight at all times, with a joyful spirit, even if the battles are small. And one manifestation of this desire to grow closer to God every day, to love more and more, is the particular examen, which helps us to fight effectively against the defects and obstacles that separate us from Christ and from our human brothers and sisters, and helps us to acquire virtues and habits that limit our coarseness in our dealings with Jesus.
The particular examination concretizes for us the goals of our interior life and prepares us to reach, with the help of grace, a determined and specific level of that mountain of holiness, or to expel an enemy, perhaps small, but well equipped, that causes numerous ravages and setbacks. "The general examination seems to be defense. -The particular, attack. -The first is armor. The second, the Toledo sword.
Today, when we tell the Lord that we want to be faithful to him, we must ask ourselves in his presence: Are my desires to advance in love great? Do I concentrate these desires to fight on a specific point that can be the target of my particular examination? Am I docile to the indications I receive in spiritual direction?