Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Follow me ...today!"

"You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
Matthew 5:4-8

The Lord calls people to follow him without distinction of state, race or condition... Be perfect... he says, and grants us the means and the appropriate graces that will make perfection possible. This is not just advice from the master, but an imperative command...

In the doctrine of Christ there is no invitation to mediocrity, but a clear call to heroism, to love and cheerful sacrifice...

Our Lord is not happy with a lukewarm life and a half-hearted dedication.

"Every branch that does not bear fruit he prunes that it may bear more fruit." (John 15:2)

The plot of earth where Our Lord has planted us is the particular family of which we are part, and not any other... The rich mould we are rooted in is our work, which we must love so that it will sanctify not only us, but also our colleagues, our classmates, our neighbors... It is there, in that environment, in the midst of the world where the Lord says we can and must live all the Christian virtues, developing them with all the demands they make on us and not allowing them to be stunted or to whither. God calls people to holiness in every circumstance: in war and in peace, in sickness and in health, when we think we have triumphed and when we face unexpected defeat, when we have plenty of time and when time is a premium... Our Lord wants us to be saints at all times. Those who do not rely on grace, and habitually see things with a completely human outlook, are saying constantly: 'this now is not the right time for sanctity..., later... perhaps...'

Let us not think that in another place, in another situation we would be ready to follow Our Lord more closely and carry out a more fruitful apostolate... The fruits of sanctity Our Lord expects are those produced in and from the environment in which we find ourselves, here and now: tiredness, sickness, family, the job, one's colleagues, one's fellow students.

"Leave behind false idealisms, fantasies, and what I usually call mystical wishful thinking. If only I hadn't married... If only I hadn't this profession... If only I were healthier... If only I were young... If only I were old...! Instead, turn seriously to the most material and immediate reality, which is where Our Lord is..." (Conversations with Monsignor Escrivá, 116)

This is the environment in which our love of God should grow and develop, using precisely those opportunities we find at hand. Let us not allow them to slip away, for it is in them that Jesus is waiting for us.

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