Memorials and commemorations of saints remind us that holiness isn’t limited to one way of life, gender, or time period. The call to live out a vocation of service to God isn’t only for those who have been canonized or beatified. The Communion of Saints includes each of us, and we all have a part to play in the mission of the Church.
Even small sins can have a corrupting influence on our souls. But we can fundamentally redirect our course by committing ourselves to making good choices every day. The little gestures we can perform don’t require much time or effort, but when done with love, St. Therese of Lisieux assures us that they become great in the eyes of God.
Life lessons are often learned in a moment of desperation. But how often do we take the time to reflect on the spiritual realities that were shown to us precisely through that circumstance? Can we find joy and new grace from God after a time of anguish? One of the paradoxes of Christian faith is that when we are lost, we can be found.
True discipleship is not easy or nice. It is a call to live a life of contradiction, always ready to let go so we can receive. Life with Christ is beautiful and radical, but it’s not won without detachment. We have to be ready to give up what is of this earth, so that we are free to be open to what is of God.
God calls us to a humility where we understand that who we are and what we have is a blessing from Him. For the poor, crippled, and blind, humility is a natural byproduct of their position in life, so God favors them. Those who have been given more — and find themselves with greater status because of it — must cultivate even greater humility.
We are often distracted by our lesser desires and find ourselves off track and restless. But a person who lives a truly disciplined life is always able to put their wants and impulses in check and to do what is necessary to achieve the greater goal of union with God. This can only be accomplished by developing a habit of strong, centered, and focused prayer.
This week’s readings are leading us to consider the demands and consequences of an enacted faith. Because, at the end of the day, our call to discipleship requires more than simply learning the stories of Jesus and being able to parrot back his teachings. Rather, Divine Wisdom calls us to live what we profess, guided by our faith convictions.
We sometimes find ourselves waiting in eager anticipation for the arrival God’s kingdom. But His kingdom is here and now! It is present anytime Jesus is around, anytime Jesus is in our hearts and minds. In order to experience the kingdom given to us, we must have an unfailing faith in the unseen.
It is so easy to get lost in the monotony of life. We get up, go to work, come home, and then repeat the pattern day after day. In all the running around, we find that we have lost ourselves. The things we thought mattered — security, status, success — do not seem so valuable to us anymore when we consider what we gave up to achieve them. Have we become so focused on accumulating possessions on earth that we have forgotten to take of our immortal souls?
We are a nation filled with sins that cry to heaven. And yet God still extends His love and mercy to us every single day. At every Mass, every confession, we come face to face with a God who sent His only Son to be that innocent one among a people of sin in order to save us all. God is more merciful and loving than we could even imagine. When we seek Him, He will be found. When we call on Him, He is always there.
All too often we fall into the trap of thinking that our mission as Christians is convincing people that they need to adopt our agenda. We welcome them to a point but then when they do not completely fit with the specs of our program, the wall goes up. Rather, the mission of the Gospel, which is a mission of hospitality, is about welcoming others where they are and with their particular needs and desires; it is more about listening than it is about doing
All of creation is on fire with God’s presence. St. Francis of Assisi knew this very well. It was his firm conviction in and knowledge of God’s love within that gave him an inexhaustible ability to love his neighbor and respond without hesitation. Loving our neighbor is not meant to be easy. How do you respond?