Aside from Pausing To Pray, I also signed up for Fr. Robert Barron's Lent Reflections. And today, let me share this beautiful reflection:
No Way Up But Down
Something I have noticed over the years is that the holiest people in our tradition are those who are most aware of their sinfulness. Whether it is Paul, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Teresa of Avila, Thérèse of Lisieux, or Mother Teresa, the saints are those who are convinced of their inadequacy.
When Isaiah encounters the Lord he says, "I am a man of unclean lips!" When Peter is in the presence of the Messiah he says, "Lord, leave me, for I am a sinful man." G.K. Chesterton once said, "A saint is someone who knows he's a sinner."
The holy person has no illusions about himself. It is an extraordinary and surprising phenomenon that the saints seem to be those who are most conscious of their sinfulness.
At times we are tempted to think that this is a form of attention-getting, a sort of false humility. But then we realize that it is proximity to the light that reveals the smudges and imperfections that otherwise go undetected. A windshield that appears perfectly clean and transparent in the early morning can become opaque when the sun shines directly on it. Standing close to the luminosity of God, the holy person is more intensely exposed, his beauty and his ugliness more thoroughly unveiled.
There's no way up but down; no real holiness without awareness. At least part of being a saint is knowing you're a sinner.
Truly, every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. :) It all depends on the choices we make, and today's First Reading tells us to choose life.
|Deuteronomy 30: 15 - 20|
|15||"See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil.|
|16||If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you this day, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you are entering to take possession of it.|
|17||But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them,|
|18||I declare to you this day, that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land which you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess.|
|19||I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live,|
|20||loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving to him; for that means life to you and length of days, that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them."|
|Photo Credit: God Is Heart|