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Many of you will be starting the book, 40 Years with a Saint, about the life of St. Josemaría Escrivá, so instead of trying to summarize that particular work, I thought I would share with you a passage from Josemaría’s collection of writings, Friends of God. As we mostly consider various Saints during this time on Wednesdays, it seemed appropriate to choose a passage on how we are to live as we seek holiness in our own lives. This is from the chapter, “In the Footsteps of Christ.”
“How crystal clear Christ’s teaching is. As usual, let us turn to the New Testament, this time to St Matthew, chapter eleven: ‘Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.’ Don’t you see? We have to learn from him, from Jesus who is our only model. If you want to go forward without stumbling or wandering off the path, then all you have to do is walk the road he walked, placing your feet in his footprints and entering into his humble and patient Heart, there to drink from the wellsprings of his commandments and of his love. In a word, you must identify yourself with Jesus Christ and try to become really and truly another Christ among your fellow men.
“To make sure there is no mistake here, let us read another quotation from St Matthew. In chapter sixteen, Our Lord makes his doctrine even clearer: ‘If anyone wishes to come my way, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.’ God’s way is one of renunciation, of mortification and of self-surrender, but it is not one of sadness or faint-heartedness.
“Reflect on the example that Christ gave us, from the crib in Bethlehem to his throne on Calvary. Think of his self-denial and of all he went through: hunger, thirst, weariness, heat, tiredness, ill-treatment, misunderstandings, tears… But at the same time think of his joy in being able to save the whole of mankind. And now I would like you to engrave deeply in your mind and upon your heart — so that you can meditate on it often and draw your own practical conclusions — the summary St Paul made to the Ephesians when he invited them to follow resolutely in Our Lord’s footsteps: ‘Be imitators of God, as very dear children, and walk in love, as Christ has loved us and delivered himself up for us, a sacrifice breathing out fragrance as he offered it to God.’
“Jesus gave himself up for us in a holocaust of love. What about you, who are a disciple of Christ? You, a favoured son of God; you, who have been ransomed at the price of the Cross; you too should be ready to deny yourself. So, no matter what situation we may find ourselves in, neither you nor I can ever allow ourselves to behave in a way that is selfish, materialistic, comfort-loving, dissipated or — forgive me if I speak too candidly — just plain stupid!” (Friends of God, #128-129a)
How do you attain holiness and become a Saint? Be joyful, become a holocaust of love, and don’t be stupid.
From the book, The Forge: “Persevere along your way no matter what happens; persevere, cheerfully and optimistically, because the Lord is bent on sweeping aside all obstacles—Hear me well: I am quite certain that if you struggle, you will be a saint!” (#355)
You may need to cast your nets on the other side of the boat, but persevere and become what God created you to be. A saint.