The only great tragedy

The Freeman - - OPINION -

I was struck by a quo­ta­tion used in Pope Fran­cis’ “Gaudete et ex­sul­tate,” which is about the call to ho­li­ness in to­day’s world. He quoted a French es­say­ist, Leon Bloy, who said “the only great tragedy in life is not to be­come a saint.” (GE 34)

I could not agree more with it. Af­ter all, to be holy is re­ally what all of us are meant for. And that’s be­cause God made us to be such. He cre­ated us in his im­age and like­ness. Fail­ing to be­come a saint is like fail­ing in ev­ery­thing in our life.

I re­mem­ber a per­ti­nent anec­dote in­volv­ing Opus Dei founder, St. Jose­maria Escriva, and some of his spir­i­tual chil­dren who were as­signed to put up the Univer­sity of Navarre in Spain. When they fi­nally man­aged to put up the univer­sity, they were happy and proud to present it to the founder.

The founder was ob­vi­ously happy, but he told them that he did not sim­ply tell them to put up the univer­sity, but rather to be­come a saint by putting up the univer­sity.

We should not for­get the proper pri­or­i­ties in our life and avoid get­ting con­fused and lost in the tech­ni­cal­i­ties of our earthly so­journ. Christ him­self said, “Seek first the king­dom of God and his right­eous­ness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Mt 6,33) He re­it­er­ated this point a num­ber of times as when he said, “Be per­fect, there­fore, as your heav­enly fa­ther is per­fect.” (Mt 5,48)

When eval­u­at­ing our per­for­mance and work qual­ity, we have to see to it that the con­stant and ul­ti­mate cri­te­rion should be whether our work has led us to sanc­tity, to a growth in our love for God and for oth­ers.

There should at least be the aware­ness that we are be­com­ing a bet­ter per­son when­ever we fin­ish a job, that we are grow­ing in the dif­fer­ent virtues, that we are get­ting closer to God and ev­ery­one else.

When we start plan­ning and or­ga­niz­ing our tasks, we should see to it that the pri­mary prin­ci­ple and mo­tive to drive us is our re­sponse to the call to ho­li­ness. We should use the per­ti­nent spir­i­tual and su­per­nat­u­ral means as well as the hu­man de­vices to meet this need.

We should be care­ful not to get stuck in the se­condary and sub­or­di­nate mo­tives for work­ing as when we would be more in­ter­ested in get­ting the job done, or in earn­ing some money, etc. All these lat­ter mo­tives have their le­git­i­mate value, but only as sup­port and tools to the pri­mary mo­tive of seek­ing sanc­tity, of do­ing things out of love for God and oth­ers.

Look­ing at the world to­day, we can re­al­ize that a lot still needs to be done to make ho­li­ness the be-all and end-all of our life. A lot of cat­e­ch­esis and for­ma­tion is needed so that ev­ery­one will be re­as­sured that this goal of sanc­tity is ob­jec­tively for all of us and that it is achiev­able with God’s grace and our ef­fort.

We have to de­bunk the be­lief that some peo­ple have that re­gards ho­li­ness as op­tional, or that it is only meant for some peo­ple who are con­sid­ered to be spe­cially gifted, etc.

We have to know how to neu­tral­ize if not con­vert the many sec­u­lar­iz­ing el­e­ments in to­day’s world into oc­ca­sions and in­stru­ments for our sanc­ti­fi­ca­tion. We cer­tainly have to con­sider the tem­per of the times and learn how to hu­man­ize and Chris­tian­ize it.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.