We are called to be holy – all of us.
We are called to be the light of Christ in this world, to illuminate the darkness by being His modern-day disciples, pointing, guiding people to Him. All of us.
Do you believe that? Or do you think it is reserved for those like your priest or Bishop? Or maybe Pope Francis? Or better yet, Saint Pope John Paul II or Saint Teresa?
Or even someone far greater like John the Baptist, of whom we hear the testimony of in todays Gospel? He paved the way for Christ’s coming into this world. Among those born of women, there was no one greater. How can we compare to him?
We can’t. God calls us to do different things, and that was His calling for John. But just as John the Baptist was called to be holy and fulfill the will God had for him, we too are called to be holy in our own way, to fulfill God’s own unique will for us.
It may not be as profound, but it will be no less impactful. Because when we realize that fact, that we are called to be holy, that we are called to bring Christ to the world around us in whatever it is we’re doing, and illuminate the darkness that invades the souls of others we interact with, we can be John the Baptist in the world today.
We can pave the way and bring others to Christ. We can be just as impactful! We can be holy – In ways we don’t even realize.
Saint Paul says it, right there in his Letter to the Corinthians, “that you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy, with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours…”
Are you called to be a Saint Paul or a Saint John the Baptist or a Saint John the Evangelist? No.
You are called to be Saint (fill your name in here). That is who God has called you to be.
We are all called to say to the world, to show the world that “we know this little nugget of truth, about this Man who was born of a virgin so many years ago, who suffered for our problems and wrongdoings, but who is God and was raised from the dead! And Oh yeah, He taught us these amazing things, that some amazing people wrote down so that we could read them over and over and never forget…”
And we want to share this with others. Those people who have never believed in anything, and those who believe, but are lukewarm. Those who have fallen away, but there is a ray of light deep within them. You. Me. All of us. We need to share it. We need to believe it.
We are called to be holy, we are called to be God’s light in the world. All of us.
But how? How do we get there? How do we do this? Fortunately, that great Man Jesus, and John the Baptist and all the great saints who have followed have paved that way. We’ve got to follow their path, and often, most regularly, it begins with a trip into the desert, away from everything. On that lonely road journeying to Damascus, where we see the light, and come out of that desert to bring Christ’s Light to the world.
John spent a lot of time in the desert – he lived there – and he was pretty rugged. Surely that time in the desert lead John to an encounter with God and a recognition of Gods will for him.
Jesus – the son of God – even had to go out in the desert for 40 days of prayer and fasting following His baptism to encounter temptation, but also encounter His Father more closely and prepare himself for His ministry, His mission and His passion.
Saint Paul was in the desert, traveling to Damascus when her encountered Christ, a life changing event for him and in fact, the world.
And the list goes on and on. The Desert Fathers, Saint Teresa’s years of darkness. We all have to go into the desert if we want to encounter Christ, if we want to experience him, and know His will, and His love. We’ve got to go into the desert in our own life, surrendering to Him, trusting Him, if we want to truly encounter Him, who we are, and who He is calling us to be.
All the temptations, the instant gratification, the pleasures, the sinfulness in this world – all of it – is too overwhelming. It’s too distracting, too easy to give into and too easy to be enslaved by. It’s too easy to forget who God is, it’s too easy to not get to know His Son, and think we’ve got it all figured out and that we can handle it. It’s too easy to think things aren’t so bad, and that we have full control.
Being Catholic is hard. Being a good Christian is hard. Trying to be holy is hard, and it may sound impossible, but it’s the only way we get to be with God in Heaven. We’ve got to find Him. We’ve got to get to know Him in ways we never have before, to learn how to recognize Him, and encounter Him on a different level – we’ve got to get out into the desert for a little while. Away from things. Intense prayer, asceticism, and fellowship.
We’ve got to detach for a while. Maybe it’s a day. Maybe it’s a weekend. Maybe it’s three months.
This is our desert of today.
We can learn to be His disciple in this world, and continue paving that path, showing others who Christ is, just as John the Baptist did. But we’ve got to learn how to live it. We’ve got to learn how to turn away from temptation and persecution and sin.
We’ve got to seek forgiveness and completely trust in God and His will.
I’m seeking how to do this. I’m seeking how, because I know I’m called to be holy, just as you are.
And so I’m going into the desert to find out how. I’m going out into the desert to learn how to be a better Catholic. There will be more on this in the coming months, but I pray you seek it too, because all of us – YOU – are called to be holy, and you too, are called to illuminate the world around you with the light of Christ.