Monday, June 30, 2008

Mary Had a Little Lamb, and He's Our Way to Go

I was reading the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:4-42) the other day and the friendship Jesus extended to this woman struck me. How many times do we really consider Jesus our friend and consider all He's done for us? Sometimes, I do not always feel like I am friends with Jesus; I feel distant, separated, unknown. But as I continued to think about the friendship Jesus offers each of us and the friendship He was personally offering me, He helped me to see all that He has done for me and given to me, and I finally saw how much God loves me.

There are certain moments in life when we are struck with a lightning bolt of divine clarity. They are these moments when you know you could not possibly know or think or say or do whatever you have done on your own; you know these things must be from God. In the past five months, I have been extremely blessed with two of these moments where God has revealed the depth of my relationship with Him and His will for me. What the Lord has shown me is that I am to be a saint. Being a saint simply means being totally united to Christ. You do not have to be a religious brother or sister or even a priest. All you must do is so totally be one with the Lord that you are completely you in the most profound way and that there is no longer any difference between you and Jesus; you are one with Him. This sounds huge and impossible! The other day, the Gospel began with the disciples saying to Jesus "This is a hard teaching, who can accept it?" Jesus said to the disciples, and He says to us, you can accept this, you can follow Me. Even though we doubt and falter, Jesus still extends this invitation and His friendship to us.

Now, this is still not easy. We know the rest of the story, Jesus is crucified, and if we are to become one with Him, we must also be crucified. This means that this path to holiness is lined with suffering and hardship. My patroness, St. Therese of Lisiuex said "The way I am following brings me no consolation and yet it gives me all consolations, for it is Jesus who has chosen it and all I want is to please Him alone, yes, Him alone!" This also reminds me of what St. Paul said, "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." Our flesh does not enjoy or rejoice in suffering and hardship, yet our spirits push forward because we know the only way to heaven is through total union with Christ. This is the path of Christ, the path to Calvary, and He has chosen each of us to walk it, to be united with Him. Therefore, this unconsoling path of suffering and sacrifice is our best and only consolation, for nothing pleases Him more than for each of us to be completely united with Him.

Another great saint and patroness of mine, St. Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart said, "Without complaint, everything shall I suffer, for in the love of God, nothing have I to fear." This is my motto in life. To suffer without complaint means for our hearts to be completely united to Christ's heart, as He did not once complain through all His beatings, persecutions, and crucifixion. In Christ's love we have nothing to fear, for in suffering with Him, we are one with Him, and there is no darkness in light. Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, "The water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life," and Jesus is the living water! Jesus is eternal life! In Him all darkness is conquered, eternal life is given, and there is nothing left to fear.

So the challenge is to accept Christ's invitation, to take Him up on His offer of friendship and eternal life. You do not have to say any formal prayers, just go to Him and talk to Him. Let Him know what is going on in your life and invite Him to be a part of it

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