I remember one of our Sisters telling us a story about a young boy who got caught for doing something uncharitable at school. I believe he was taking food out of his sister’s lunch! Sister approached the young boy and began to tell him all the reasons why he should not do that. She thought she did a pretty good job! Then, the moment of truth arrived, and Sister asked him, “are you going to do this again?” He responded with all the honesty that a young boy could have: “I would do it again, and again and again!”
Such is our condition as human beings! There is this constant battle inside of us that wants what we want and that’s it. And we are experts at justifying ourselves too for the wrongs we have committed! Vice is easy…Virtue is difficult! It is easy to give into our passions like anger, greed, lust, envy and so on. It is the easy road.
However, if we are to follow Jesus, we need to be ready to battle! We need to be ready to battle and conquer these vices that so easily haunt us! How do we battle? The Cross. The Cross of Jesus is how we do battle. We take up our Cross and we follow Christ. Yes, we might fall along the way. Yes it is heavy. Yes it hurts and is painful. Real love is painful. Why? Because it demands sacrifice and total self-gift. Jesus shows us that the way to true freedom and true love is being willing to carry our Cross and follow Him. This means bit by bit letting go of our vices and embracing virtue!!
Christ’s love was a total outpouring love. I once heard a priest say, “We mean everything to God, even the blood of His own Son.” Do we believe that? Do we really believe that? If I live as if this statement was true, “we mean everything to God, even the blood of His own Son,” then our lives would be transformed! We would be less self-centered, less quick to judge, less afraid, less tormented by the past mistakes. We would stop caring so much about what others thought of us, we would see others as children of God. We would be totally made new! The challenge is to live as if this statement is true: “I am completely and totally loved by God!”
When we know that someone loves us, everything changes! Our whole life changes! We walk around the world with confidence, because we know we are loved for who we are. And as we live our lives, we seek to live a life of virtue, bringing to others the love that we have been given.
To grow in virtue means we need to daily reflect on the Lord’s love for us. When we know that we are loved, it softens our hearts to look at others and even ourselves with more compassion. When we know we are loved by God, we are able to trust God.
We cannot do anything on our own! How often have we tried to do everything on our own and have so often fallen into discouragement and pride? We need to receive all the “helpers” that God gives to us along the way: Jesus in the Eucharist, Mary our Mother, the Saints, the Sacraments, the Church, the prayers of other people… and the list can go on and on.
These next few weeks, I am going to be choosing certain virtues that we all want to grow in! Hopefully you will find it helpful and interesting!