Mt 7:21,24-27 A Strong Christian
He didn’t come back home. His wife and children were scared something bad had happened to him. What his wife of 15 years and children of 11 and 7 didn’t realize is that he was arrested on prostitution charges. Our man is a non-Catholic Christian: devote, handsome, intelligent, and articulate. He was arrested that evening after having solicited an undercover police woman. His wife was in shock; his children still wondering why mommy was crying – words would not come out.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in Heaven.” I just sent this verse, from today’s Gospel, to a young College student who experiences the constant bombardment by her Protestant friends who question if she is saved. After all, just accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and once saved, always saved. The difficulty I have with this concept is that it is the work of the devil. Not everyone who says to me, ‘My Lord, my Lord’, will enter the Kingdom of heaven. Why? Because you have to do something: the Father’s Will. We are called upon to be like Christ. All of us! And to do so, we must build our lives on solid ground. Jesus is the corner stone; the Church is the Rock because it is the mystical body of Christ. “The Lord is an eternal Rock” (Is 26: 4-5).
“A strong city have we; he sets up walls and ramparts to protect us” (Is 118:26a) The Lord demands excellence from all of us. What is the enemy of excellence? Goodness. The greatest threat to being great is being good enough. The greatest threat in starting a new business adventure is having a safety net. The greatest threat to being a Saint is being reasonable, practical or logical.
What does it take to be a Saint? Grace. Does the Lord not give all of us his grace to be holy? Yes. So what does it take for us to be holy? I have come to realize that one essential ingredient is DISCIPLINE! Yes, discipline. To finish what you start. To fulfill your commitments: to say yes to the Lord and to do it. Without discipline we are in constant danger – great danger. We will never charge up the mountain. We will never “never surrender!” Without discipline we will constantly stumble and fall and land flat on our face. We will spend our entire lives climbing a mountain using only our hands and not our feet, for we will be climbing from a ledge, a cliff, inch by inch, without ever being able to give a hand to others. And once we get to the top (if we do), we will find that the path was easier from another side. Discipline is the other side, or the tools that God provides to help us get to the top from an easier side. Discipline is like using a can opener to open a can rather than using a knife to get the job done. Yes, both can be used, but what a waste of time, effort and brains.
“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” Listen and act. These are essential ingredients or requirements to live a good Advent. What must I do? Find out. Once you find out, do it and hold yourself accountable. Find someone that will help you to be accountable. In my own personal life I thank the Lord so much for having given me the grace, the light, to start up this blog. This blog is more for me than for anyone else. It is my meditation, my prayer time that I must hold as sacred. On Tuesday, the priests from the Diocese had a retreat. Our guest speaker told us that priests who spend an hour a day in prayer are less likely to experience emotional exhaustion or loneliness. In fact, they will experience greater happiness. Wow!!! What a discovery! I could have told him that myself. He actually mentioned that “burn out” is not caused by too much work, but rather work that is not rewarding or enriching!
Prayer is a good discipline and a good idea. It is the best. What is true for priests is true for all!
“Pray constantly, so as to not fall into temptation.” Prayer is a grace from God and a discipline for man. It is not the cure for all. I know that! But it is a very good start in disciplining your thoughts, words and actions. What was/is good for Jesus is good for man.