Allow for uncertainty; you can be sure it will come. Find the lesson in the unexpected. Matthew Kelly
According to Sam Guzman of Catholic Gentleman, “Many of our faults and failings are more complex than we at first realize. Our patterns of behavior are rarely random, and surface sins are often merely symptomatic of deeper, more subtle wounds in our souls.” As a “prominent example of a deeper wound,” fear is “the cause of many of our faults and failings.”
The completion of our Lenten efforts has most likely illuminated the fact that fear of the unknown or of failure is a definite influence in keeping our resolve.
Becoming a Saint: Fear
Oh, how we fear! Life has handed me many experiences that cement this obstacle to becoming a saint. Putting my life into God’s hands certainly does not come naturally to me. The world tells us that the stronger we are, the harder we work, the more likely we are to succeed. In direct opposition to worldly wisdom, “letting go and letting God” is tantamount to walking a high wire without an apparent net.
Yet this is exactly what we Jesus calls us to do. Remember Peter and his wish to walk on water with Jesus? As long as he believed, he managed to remain above the sea. It was only when fear entered in, and he doubted, that he began to sink. Jesus, however, was there for him the minute Peter called out to Him. Calling on God throughout the day must be our goal to overcoming our own fear and preventing dependence on our own strengths.
Becoming a Saint: Prayer
As if the challenge of fear is not enough, adding to my prayer life by retaining lessons learned during Lent present an obstacle as well. I am just beginning to renew my quest to make the activities of everyday a prayer. Being mindful of God, even in the most ordinary parts of life, is to empty our minds of the mundane and replace it with God. Cooking supper? Do it for God, through serving family. Laundry, grocery shopping, dusting – do it for God.
We are at Jesus’ disposal. If he wants you to be sick in bed, if he wants you to proclaim His work in the street, if he wants you to clean the toilets all day, that’s all right, everything is all right. We must say, “I belong to you. You can do whatever you like.” And this … is our strength, and this is the joy of the Lord. (Saint Teresa of Calcutta)
Add an amplified regimen of formal prayer to this list and your day is full indeed. Yet, becoming a saint places focus on every ‘now’ and not what else needs to be accomplished. Do not belabor the list of prayer itself. Refrain from an attitude of “getting it over with.” Instead, accomplish your goal in the same way you accomplish many things when they are humanly pleasurable. Remember the old adage about being able to make time for the things we find important.
Becoming a Saint: Selflessness
Our creature comforts are easily placed at the top of our to-do list. This comes naturally to us in our human condition. Yet our supernatural selves can be trained to focus on being selfless. In our path to becoming a saint, we have the option of fully using any available grace to find our true North. I find this to be a daily struggle. The innate urge for self is very strong. Grace obtained through prayer is the only sound solution.
Becoming a Saint: Love
“Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34)
Jesus tells us that loving and caring for our own is no more sanctifying than what any sinner does. The difficulty of genuine love is to find our way in becoming a saint. Letting go of past hurts is one of my most ominous struggles. I tend to think in terms of fairness. I am willing to forgive or to ask for forgiveness, but then I expect an equal effort on the part of others.
Unfortunately, this is not the way of our fallen world. We are called to love without expectation. The same way that Jesus loves us unconditionally, we must approach everyone who comes into our life. Anger retained and nourished is like drinking poison in order to harm someone with whom we are angry. It does not affect them at all. It only taints our own souls and prevents us from our goal: becoming the saint Jesus calls us to be.
Becoming a Saint: Finding My Path
As long as we are consciously living and breathing, we have new opportunities each and every day. Just like the sacrament of confession, we can shine light on our faults, find reconciliation, and straighten our path. Staying in the state of grace and creating ourselves anew, every day, will give us all the tools we need to continue on our journey. Joining with others who are traversing the same path not only gives us companionship, but also the power of shared goals.
Copyright 2019 Birgit Jones