Never Stop Seeking Holiness
Thursday of the First Week of Lent
Author: Alex Yeung, LC | Source: Catholic.net
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 7: 7-12
Jesus said to his disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. "Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets."
Heavenly Father, I take these moments to adore you, and to enter into your loving presence. I dare to tell you I believe in you, although, you know how weak my faith is. Increase my faith! You are the reason for all my hope in life. Lord, give me the interior freedom of a total and unrelenting confidence in you. Lord, I count on you as I strive to love you more totally, fill me with the love that only you can give, and never let me lose heart in my efforts to reach holiness of life to which you have called me. Amen.
Lord, teach me how to pray. in this mediation enable me to believe in the depths of my heart and with a vibrant faith that you truly do want me to be holy, to be a saint. Give me the grace to correspond and to be docile to the sanctifying action of your Holy Spirit in my life.
1. The Shortcut to Prayer is the Path to Genuine Holiness:
As Pope St John Paul II reminded us, "The royal and indispensable way to advance on the path of holiness is prayer: being with the Lord, we become friends of the Lord, his attitude gradually becomes our attitude and his heart our heart" (Address to the Priests of the Diocese of Rome, March 6, 2003). Again we are confronted with that fundamental principle of our sanctification: "He must increase, and I must decrease" (Cf. John 3:30). Christ must become more and more in us. And that's what genuine prayer accomplishes, if that prayer consists of a one-on-one dialogue conversation with the Savior, engaging heart, mind and will. Could it be the case that I am seeking holiness without having firmly decided to anchor each day, indeed my entire life, in prayer?
2. God Wants Us to Ask for Holiness with Childlike Trust Like Little Children:
Why is it that the prospect of our personal holiness seems so outlandish to us? Why are we so inwardly reluctant to believe that God, the almighty, the all-powerful, who created us from nothing, can also sanctify us? True, as St. Augustine would remind us, "The God who created you without your collaboration will not save you without your collaboration." And maybe the part that discourages us is— it's our unwillingness to jump headlong into that part of our sanctification that depends on us. But even here, Christ urges us to pray with confidence: "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:11). Is it too much to believe and trust that God will strengthen our will in the pursuit of holiness? Will his grace fail us if we ask for holiness with complete trust and childlike confidence?
3. What a Combination! Prayer, Holiness and Apostolic Fruit:
These three things Prayer, holiness and apostolic fruitfulness are intrinsically linked. If we, as lay apostles, wish to see fruit in all our apostolic endeavors, we know this will depend in large part on our degree of holiness, that is,: our degree of real union with God, the degree to which his divine life flows through us. That divine life, given to us in baptism and that increased through our sacramental life, can be enhanced every day enhanced in personal prayer where our thirst for God is not quenched, but rather greatly increased. I very much agree with you that on the apostolate we experience the urgent need for union with God, due to the ongoing wear and tear that we face as we give ourselves, and communicate our convictions to others. I hope this experience will drive you to crave a personal and constant contact with the God you have to give and communicate to others. When souls come to you they should never find your heart to be an empty and dry well. We should pray always, so that prayer will be the secret of your holiness and apostolic fruitfulness. Prayer continues to be the greatest power on earth. It must be at the very center of our quest for holiness.
Conversation with Christ:
Lord Jesus, thank you for this time of prayer. And thank you for teaching me internally, little by little every day, how to pray more perfectly. Lord, I know that the best, simplest and most perfect prayer I can offer you is my total openness and embrace of the Father's plan in my life. Lord, may your Kingdom come more perfectly in my life. May your will be done in every thought, in every choice, in every one of my actions. And for the sake of those men and women, my brothers and sisters, whose own salvation is somehow mysteriously linked to my life, and to my fidelity to you, give me holiness! Amen.
I will renew my determination to make a daily prayer time, and make sure that this becomes, or continues to be, a part of my daily routine.