Friday, October 5, 2012
“We should not wish to become a Saint in four days but step by step.”-St. Philip Neri
Often when we decide to start living our lives more fully for God and less for ourselves we begin to think of the great deeds of the saints, the sufferings and love they show for Christ. When we think of them we aspire to become like them, not over the course of our lives but overnight. When this approach is taken we always fail for we see our Love for God as something we create and not something we respond too.
As the angelic doctor, St. Tomas Aquinas says, “The Christian moral life is simply a response to God’s incredible love for us.” It takes patience and humility for us to more fully accept His love in our hearts that are in need of softening and respond with charity. This is why it is always sooner rather than later that we should begin to accept God’s love and respond to it appropriately, for the sooner in life we do, the more time we have to grow in love towards God and fulfill our purpose.
Often our mistake is trying to become great in holiness overnight. We do not understand that it is not us producing the love that leads to holiness but instead we return the love that has already been given which leads to holiness. Then when we fail by falling into old habits of sin, we beat ourselves up out of pride. We want to do it alone, independent of God and when this cannot be done we get discouraged. We fail to remember that even Christ depended upon his Father for otherwise we would not hear him saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” (Lk. 22:42). This discouragement is never from God who is our hope, but always from ourselves, and/or an evil spirit. If the discouragement is not leaving or is reoccurring, we may be lead back into old habits because “I can’t do it.”
Well of course we cannot do it if we try by ourselves just as a three year old child cannot survive without dependence on adults. This is why Christ ask us to be like a child. This does not mean that we should be immature and ignorant but dependent to whom we receive all things from. It is only in this dependence that we can reach the heights of perfection and holiness because only in complete dependence we fully be accepting of God’s grace.