A few months ago, with a confident smile on my face, I looked up at our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and I said, “Lord, I want to love you more.”
“If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” –John 14:14
The way He answered that prayer was not how I wanted Him to (naturally). I wanted Him to just drown me in His love at mass or something but no, He introduced me to the two virtues I chose to use for the title this post. (I touched more on this here)
It felt like He threw me into the deep end of a twenty-eight foot pool and said, “Okay, my daughter, swim out.”
I said, “Lord, I hate swimming.”
He smiled, “Yes, I know.”
The day I got thrown into the deep end was the day my dad wrote this quote on the white board in my kitchen, “If it’s important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.” And I knew, in that moment, it was game time.
Just how, physically, if you want to lose weight, your personal trainer is not going to do the work for you—but set up the work for you. They’ve seen your case, know your conditions, and want to lead you to success. Instructions come on their behalf and they tell you exactly what you want to hear, but YOU have to have the personal will to want to work for it.
Like me, you probably “eye roll” at the directions you don’t want to hear, but you have to do it because you know there is some end goal that is worth what you’re doing.
And if Jesus is our spiritual personal trainer, the same rules apply when we want to grow in holiness.
Jesus WILL help you. Jesus GIVES you the strength, direction, and understanding to get through it, but what will He say if you just sit there? A believer has to do his part and persevere. We should always be striving to cooperate with the graces He gives us.
I presume God wants some blood, sweat, and tears in our lives. Not to torture us, punish us, or abandon us—but to show us that we have to work for this holiness thing. We have to go through motions and pour our hearts out to Christ.
Holiness can’t be obtained through assuming full security in “everything happens for a reason” and “if it’s in God’s will, it’ll just happen!” because while those statements ARE true, the Holy Spirit wants his people to work! To use every opportunity, experience, and hardship as a means to understand the veracity of the promises of the Gospel.
“Though perseverance does not come from our power, it comes from within our power.” -St. Francis de Sales
We are not believers who sit back and let God work in our lives through others or “wait for signs,” we are believers who, by our own personal will, work with God. Think of it this way–can someone else lose weight for you?
If we’re called to imitate Christ, the the best way to truly get through a cross is learning who Christ is and asking Him to teach us and change us. Did Jesus sit in the garden and have a “pity-party” for Himself? What virtues did He strive for amidst suffering and temptations? How did he handle the things He went through and how can I imitate it? How does this lead me to greater love?
These battle’s (crosses) are something no one else can fight for you—it’s only supposed to be between you and God, your awesome, butt-whooping, trainer. I’ve fallen, I’ve messed up, and I’ve tried to quit–but the moment’s I chose not to were the moments God worked the most in.
If you’ve ever done an intense workout and wanted to give up halfway through, but didn’t, and finished than you know why I say that feeling is on my list of ‘Top 5 greatest Feelings.’ And I only hope with everything in me, when I get to meet God in person one day, He’ll give me a rock solid high five and tell me, “well done my good and faithful servant.”
“Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.” -St. Catherine of Siena