Monday, December 15, 2008

A shining light in a dark world...

If anyone has a devotion to St. Max, please comment. I would love to learn more about him. I've read two bios, but would love any and all other input about this heroic, humble soul. I try not to become downcast when I read about truly holy men like him, or women of the faith, but when I visualize what they went through without complaint and what I grumble about during the course of a day, sainthood seems unattainable. Is that just my own flesh or pride or the lying "voice" of one of Satan's minions trying to discourage me? All of the above perhaps.

When I ponder the suffering St. Maximilian, St. Edith Stein, St. Miguel Pro and countless others endured with their undaunted faith that had guided most of if not their whole existence, it gives me such pause. I can't help but think: "What and who do I think I am?" Hardly able to "suffer a cold" a hacking cough, or horridly weak coffee. (If coffee looks lighter than tea and tastes like plastic, there's a problem!!) A fitful night in a strange, "hard" bed at a Days Inn, or some relative's house, and to me it's "penance?" Well, yes it is an actual penance, to some extent, because I know we're to offer up all our "small" sufferings and large ones, with joy and for the Poor Souls and salvation of sinners. It's just that the "large ones" aren't quite so large after reading about someone like St. Max or St. Miguel Pro. My life is what it is, here and now, and I'm not begging for worse conditions to test me, but why is it that we (ok, I) "lose it" so easily over petty things when people have lost their lives and shed their blood and are still losing their lives all over the globe for just "being" Catholic? It's humbling and sobering, as it should be. But I know God isn't "down on me" and sends these heroes into my life to learn from and pray to, but sometimes it's like I take one step forward and 15 back throughout a day. There again, that's probably revealing my struggle with pride, too, to even be thinking about these things like this. Oh wretched soul that I am....who will deliver me!? Jesus.

I know these saints were graced to face their trials and suffering and martyrdom, but I feel like such a complete and total WIMP. I have trouble offering up a lapse of ettiquette from my husband or a word of a friend that doesn't ever come to fruition and it "grates" on me. I've a LONG way to go, but my aspiration is to become a saint. My desire is to be a saintly fool for Jesus. To grow in faith, hope and love. To be more patient and less self-absorbed. Humility...I need a big dose of it. I need to forgive more easily and sometimes find myself nagging about something that other saints would probably never even notice happening to them. St. Max, pray for me. Pray for us all to realize that no matter what, God does love us. We are to grow, to mature, but not to become "dour and stoic." That does not describe one Saint I know. And it surely does not describe you, St. Max. You were a man full of energy, even when exhausted from sickness and tuberculosis...yet you never tired, wavered, or faltered in your faith. It seemed to spur you on all the more, to be that "libation" poured out completely, to every last drop, for your brothers, and ultimately for a stranger in a prison, and most of all for your truest and dearest love of your heart, Immaculate Mary.

A light in a dark world is what you were, and what we all need to be, for our world is even more dark and more wicked as atheism isn't quite a "respectful" as it once was. Some years ago, to be an atheist meant that one believed there is no God, and lived as though there wasn't. NOW, the "new atheism" is more treacherous, and covert and says: "I believe there's a God ...and he thinks just like me!" That is the more sinister and sly movement of atheism, not just in the secular thinking humanity, but most hideously revealed in the Church, among mass attendees and other Christians. Dire and dark, but NOT WITHOUT HOPE. We are called to be lights. Pray for us that we will shine and bring the Light of Truth into our darkened little corners of the world. I won't give up, and I won't become even more self-absorbed about this, even if my "feelings" and everything from the pit of hell screams at me "you're not good enough!" I will remember this: God doesn't call the perfect or the most qualified. He perfects and qualifies the ones he calls. Amen.

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