This Scripture from Matthew 11 was selected by the late author Flannery O'Conner as the title to her only novel. (She is known for her profound short stories, mostly.)
Reviewing and pondering what Jesus meant in His words, brings up the aspect of extremism.
Knowing Jesus Christ, following Jesus Christ, and being united in Jesus Christ are extreme measures in living and existing, without and within.
Yet, in this Advent season, we are reminded of the extremism of Jesus, the extremism of the conditions of His coming to earth, the extremism of how Mary conceived and bore a Child Who would be a contradiction to the "world" and yet be its Savior.
In our world today, and in so many souls, there is the extremism of secularism, of paganism, of anti-Christianity--not just atheism and agnosticism. There is what is dubbed the "War on Christmas", and when we take a look at the world-at-large and the people in it, even those within Christian churches, we find a ebbing of passion, a weakening and lessening of those who, like John the Baptist, are willing to do anything at all for Jesus Christ, even to admit we are Christians or to show it by our love.
The violent (or violence) will bear it away. Those with extreme love and devotion, with extreme passion for Jesus Christ, will be, as have always been, the ones to live and die for love of Christ. It takes a willingness to desire all in His Real Presence that will bear away the darkness, that will confound the evil, that will raise up Jesus's merciful love over those whose love has been distorted in and by the darkness of secularism.
Extreme love for Jesus Christ means violating our fears of what others think, or of losing our temporal securities. It means to love beyond all measure, His Real Presence, and to bear all in our lives in faith in God's goodness and supremacy over evil. It means that we in whatever small ways daily and nightly, embrace the extreme and passionate efforts within ourselves, to conquer whatever hinders us from overcoming our hesitations, our resistances to His mercy and love.
Let us not fear the extremism of what it means to violently bear Christianity and conquer sin, beginning within our own beings. Extreme love knows no bounds and yet can bear away darkness soundlessly and invisibly in addition to being seen and known, depending upon the conflict. Yet at times we may be called upon to take more visible action, to let the Light shine, to be expressly fearless in Christ.
Put on the armor of Christmas! Let the reality of God with us, God in us, and us in God, is extreme love, violent--passionate--faith, hope, and love that overcomes all opposition from sins outer and inner. Let Christ in us and us in Him, live love and light over darkness and death.
God bless His Real Presence in us! Little children, love one another, just as He loves us, extremely, birthing and bearing love in order to conquer darkness and death.