Time to set the world on fire
PATRICK NOVECOSKY writes that our efforts to change the culture must be rooted in prayer . . .
I just finished watching a three-hour miniseries on St. Padre Pio, and it got me thinking: Why aren’t we all as spiritually connected to Christ as he was? What does it take to realize your spiritual potential and become a great saint right now?
You see, that’s the thing. Great saints are great before they get to heaven, not just after they die. And they weren’t great in their earthly lives because of their accomplishments necessarily, but because of their radical love for Jesus Christ — whether they felt his presence in their lives or not. With a radical pursuit of Christ comes surrender to his will and his providence. With that surrender comes humility. With humility, holiness. It’s that easy … and it’s not easy.
The lives of the saints show us, too, that sanctity is a process. Just as we mature physically from childhood to adulthood, so too with the spiritual life. Sadly, too many Catholics think their spiritual growth ends at Confirmation. They mistakenly believe that our faith is like going to school. Once you get the diploma, you’re done. But our faith isn’t only about knowing the rules and regulations, it’s about a person — Jesus — and our relationship with him.
Here’s another analogy that works best with men. Men spend an inordinate amount of time and effort to woo their beloved. Most men put a lot of thought and money into their efforts to win the heart of the women they want to marry. Only a foolish man would go to such lengths, then forget all about her after the ring is on her finger!
Our relationship with Christ should be no different. We spend our early years learning about the sacraments and then receiving the sacraments. In a sense, Confirmation is like our wedding day. Our relationship with Christ takes on a new dimension with the Holy Spirit. It takes root, but it needs to be nourished.
St. Catherine of Siena famously wrote that “if you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire!” How to make that happen? By understanding that our lives as Christians must be about a relationship with Christ from which everything else flows. When we finally come to the end of our earthly road, heaven will be a continuation of that relationship in a new and unimaginable way.
PATRICK NOVECOSKY is the editor-in-chief of Legatus magazine.