“The Holy Spirit leads us like a mother. He leads us like a child… as a sighted person leads a blind person.” St. Jean Vianney
I received an interesting phone call recently. This person had more than once told me that Church and mass were not options for them. They would make it quite clear to me after various discussions. However, the phone call changed all that. “I went to mass recently,” was the comment over the phone. My first reaction was to think possibly lightning struck somewhere or that some roof collapsed. That, of course, was the not the case. I was told that mass was somehow ‘not so bad’ for this person. They even lit a candle for the repose of the soul for my recently deceased father. God really does surprise us!
“Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of Christ risen.” St. Teresa of Calcutta
It is easy to forget the Lord’s greatness. Recently at mass, in the Letter to the Hebrews, we were reminded that God would not forget all we have done for Him in love. He would never be unjust. I never intend to interpret scripture, but sometimes small phrases stick with me. They become uplifting. I need to read about the saint or saints of the day to remind me of the Lord’s immense fidelity to us. Even they struggled and they continue to be signs for us that we are not alone. Someone such as St. Anthony Abbot lived in the desert for 20 years in an abandoned fort. Even living in isolation would not detract from God’s love for him. Admirers came from far and away to see him despite his desire for solitude. He became the father of monasticism. Blessed Teresio Olivelli lived in the 20th century and his conscience would not allow him to follow the ideologies of the Italian fascist. He was a learned man and taught law. He was part of the resistance during the war and was tortured for it. I cannot imagine this determination and faith in Christ that would maintain someone in those conditions.
“Christian joy is a gift of God flowing from a good conscience.” St. Philip Neri
To live in good conscience is not so easy nor simple. I do not want to live a moralism and reduce Christianity to a set of rules. I want to live in a relationship with Christ and bask in his love each day. Otherwise, faith would whither. Recently I was asked to help someone with a struggle they were having. I had to think long and hard and decide if it was worthwhile. Then I thought of the saints. They never backed down from a struggle. They were persecuted for many things and many of them died for this. I need to be reminded daily of God’s greatness.
“Life is a battle. Therefore, we have to be armed and ready and always on the alert. We must be armed with the weapons of the spirit, which we can easily obtain if we live all the time in the presence of God.” Antonio Cardinal Bacci
Cardinal Suens of Belgium wrote:
“I believe in the surprises of the Holy Spirit. The story of the Church is a long story, filled with the wonders of the Holy Spirit. Why should we think that God’s imagination and love might be exhausted?”