Saturday, March 1, 2008

A Drop in the Ocean

What next? The vast world stretches out before me and I am filled with awe. What a wondrous place God has created for us! Yet, it is merely a drop in the ocean compared to what is to come. There is so much to look forward to. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us of the great things to come.

"1045 For man, this consummation will be the final realization of the unity of the human race, which God willed from creation and of which the pilgrim Church has been "in the nature of sacrament."636 Those who are united with Christ will form the community of the redeemed, "the holy city" of God, "the Bride, the wife of the Lamb."637 She will not be wounded any longer by sin, stains, self-love, that destroy or wound the earthly community.638 The beatific vision, in which God opens himself in an inexhaustible way to the elect, will be the ever-flowing well-spring of happiness, peace, and mutual communion."

1028 Because of his transcendence, God cannot be seen as he is, unless he himself opens up his mystery to man's immediate contemplation and gives him the capacity for it. The Church calls this contemplation of God in his heavenly glory "the beatific vision":

How great will your glory and happiness be, to be allowed to see God, to be honored with sharing the joy of salvation and eternal light with Christ your Lord and God, . . . to delight in the joy of immortality in the Kingdom of heaven with the righteous and God's friends.604"
We are given so many graces and opportunities to make this perfect happiness even more attainable and yet, so often, we ignore them. Over and over again we reason that we are doing "enough" or that we mustn't do anything that might be considered extreme. Society chides us for yearning to be holy and tells us that it is not realistic. But the Church makes it clear that we are all called to holiness.

"2013 "All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity."65 All are called to holiness: "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."66

In order to reach this perfection the faithful should use the strength dealt out to them by Christ's gift, so that . . . doing the will of the Father in everything, they may wholeheartedly devote themselves to the glory of God and to the service of their neighbor. Thus the holiness of the People of God will grow in fruitful abundance, as is clearly shown in the history of the Church through the lives of so many saints.67"

"2014 Spiritual progress tends toward ever more intimate union with Christ. This union is called "mystical" because it participates in the mystery of Christ through the sacraments - "the holy mysteries" - and, in him, in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. God calls us all to this intimate union with him, even if the special graces or extraordinary signs of this mystical life are granted only to some for the sake of manifesting the gratuitous gift given to all."

"2015 The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle.68 Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes:

He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows.69"
"2813 In the waters of Baptism, we have been "washed . . . sanctified . . . justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God."79 Our Father calls us to holiness in the whole of our life, and since "he is the source of [our] life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and . . .sanctification,"80 both his glory and our life depend on the hallowing of his name in us and by us. Such is the urgency of our first petition.

By whom is God hallowed, since he is the one who hallows? But since he said, "You shall be holy to me; for I the LORD am holy," we seek and ask that we who were sanctified in Baptism may persevere in what we have begun to be. And we ask this daily, for we need sanctification daily, so that we who fail daily may cleanse away our sins by being sanctified continually. . . . We pray that this sanctification may remain in us."
How then, can we so often limit ourselves to mediocrity? How can we justify the minimal amount of time spent in prayer? How can we justify the waste and the laziness? How can we justify the apathy? There is nothing in this world that makes it more worthwhile than the life promised to those who love the Lord and strive ever to do His will. "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8:36)

This lesson has been appearing repeatedly in my life, especially during the last seven months. There is so much to learn. There is so much to do. The very thought of this fills my heart with indescribable joy. I yearn to follow in the footsteps of the great saints of the Church. My heart aches to burn with the love that St. Therese (the Little Flower), St. Francis Xavier, Blessed Pio of Pietrelcina, St. Faustina, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Isaac Jogues, St. Jean Vianney, and St. Joan of Arc have shown and continue to show to God and the world. If God wills it, then it shall be done. So, I dare to come before Him and ask for this great grace.

"Da mihi animas!" - St. Francis Xavier

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