This Sunday’s readings bring a few key concepts to mind for me:
In the first reading, when the Lord says, “You say that my ways are unfair…” I thought of the rot that relativism has caused in our society. Relativism says that there is no truth – that what is true for me can be different from what is true for you – that “it’s all good,” so long as everyone is happy. This has caused the moral decay individuals, families and (in turn) our society in general. The is such a thing as truth. Truth has a name. It is God.
Our world tells us that God’s ways are oppressive and rob us of our freedom as individuals. In actuality, God knows us better than we know ourselves. He created us out of Love. His commandments were designed with our best interests at heart. The truth is that when we follow God’s way, it is then that we are most FREE, most fulfilled – most happy!
Second topic – Virtue. Virtue is the habit of doing good. Vice is the habit of doing wrong. The more we practice virtue, vice is crowded out of our lives. St. Therese’ used virtue beads – a simple cord with 10 beads on it. Each day she would try to do at least 10 good things for others. When she would do an act of charity/kindness, she would move one of the beads from one side of the cord to another. She did this secretly – sort of a self- competition. We all know Therese’ as such a holy, loving person. She faced a lot of adversity, however. Her life in the convent was not easy at all. Some of the other nuns were jealous of her good nature and were downright cruel to her. Through the practice of virtue, however, she grew in humility and holiness with every passing day. She was able to keep joy in her heart despite her circumstances. Isn’t that what we all want?
Lastly, in the gospel, we are called to be people of our word – people of integrity. We are also called to conversion. Conversion for most people is not a defining moment like it was for St. Paul/ Saul. The majority of us experience this process as a journey – two steps forward, one step back. That’s o.k. as long as we keep at it! What can we do to continue to have conversion of heart? We should pray for it daily. Receiving the sacraments frequently is also beneficial. We should befriend people with the same desire for spiritual growth and closeness to the Lord. Reading scripture is essential because “Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ” (St. Jerome). Other spiritual reading can also feed and encourage us.
May we all grow closer to the Lord with each and every breath that we take!