Why do you do it? When people ask for you why do you always say yes? You need to spend some time for yourself. This is what’s been going on in my mind this morning. I will explain why.
A few days ago I got a phone call from two religious orders: Sisters of Mt. Carmel and the Missionaries of Charity. They needed a priest this week, bright and early for their morning Mass. I looked at my schedule and it would be tight, but not impossible. I told them that I would do it. Today, I am sick and this morning I am off to do the first Mass.
This is no pity party. I know added commitments happen to moms and dads all the time, and probably more frequently than for priests! We push ourselves. We drive ourselves. But what drives me? I prefer to be driven by God for God than to be driven by fear, frustration, anger and health (wellness in today’s preferred nomenclature).
Our concerns are admirable. But the Lord’s concerns are holy. I recall yesterday’s Scripture where the Lord admonishes his people, “I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich, and white garments to put on so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed, and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise. Be earnest, therefore, and repent.” (Rev. 3:1-6, 14-22)
There we have it. This is what success looks like.
If you ever want to know what success looks like then look at the Cross. Yes, the Cross - the Cross of our salvation, the Cross of our Redemption. The Lord’s Cross is the only one that leads all men to eternal life. Look at the Cross and believe like the people of the Old Testament, smitten by the serpents in the desert and saved by Christ’s prototype. Moses lifted high above his head the bronze serpent, whoever looked at it did not die but was saved. “Just as Moses raised the bronze serpent in the desert, so will the Son of Man be raised.” All who looked at Him were saved. SUCCESS = CROSS. There is no love without sacrifice. No sacrifice without cost. No further cost than to lay down your life for your friends.
Christ was the bravest man in the world; he defended the Truth till the end. Christ was the strongest man in the world; he carried upon His shoulders the sins of the world. He carried his cross until he completed His mission: Victory over Death. Christ was the greatest man that ever lived. His life was completely, unconditionally devoted to his Father. To do his Father’s Will was his greatest desire and for that, the Father raised Him up and gave his Son EVERYTHING! The son, faithful to His Father, inherits everything. The son, faithful to His Father, stays united to Him.
Look at the Cross and see the most successful man in the Universe. Success looks like Christ. Success speaks the words that Christ spoke: “Thy Will be done.” This was his lifelong motto. Success means to be faithful to your word, to your promises, to your commitment, to your mission, to your values, principles, morals, dignity. Be earnest, therefore, and repent.” It means to take the talents that the Lord gave and multiply them so they may yield exponential fruit!
Success requires integrity which means to be a man of God. What words would best describe the attitude of Christ nailed to the Cross? “It is finished.” I often tell moms and dads that their vocation in life is to die to their family. I am proud to say it. It is the highest form of flattery.
Let us pray to God the Father that we will have the courage and the strength to speak these words at the end of our lives.