God would have us be saints, would make us saints but our selfishness prevents God from making us such. We conduct ourselves as though we were better, wiser, and more powerful than Almighty God. We cannot make a hair on our heads black or white or add an inch to our stature, yet we act and speak as though the world’s destiny depended on us… God’s dwelling place is in our soul; but we turn God out by our selfishness.
For we shall never become holy without action for God gives us the ability to act in order to love and serve Him. It is the misdirection we give to our wills through our selfishness that is the origin of evil. As Saint Denis (the Belgian mystic, Denis the Carthusian, 1402-1471) says, the corruption of souls comes from giving false direction to our actions.
We plan, we project, we speculate as if the world was on our shoulders and God was totally gone. Our misfortune is that in acting in this way we lose God instead of finding him. The wisest thing we can do is meditate on the folly of the world and above all on our own doings… Our actions must assist and cooperate with the grace of God or it is good for nothing else.
RESPONSE: FR. PAUL ROBICHAUD, CSP
Today Servant of God Isaac Thomas Hecker reminds us that our actions must assist and cooperate with the grace of God. God gives us the ability to act in order to love and serve God. God has given us life and the various elements of our life such as our intelligence, our freedom, our material blessings and our health in order that they may be used in the service of God.
Father Hecker paints a beautiful image of how when our actions cooperate with grace, how God comes to dwell in our soul. God would have us be saints says Hecker. And sadly, the reverse is true as well. When our actions are governed by selfishness and apathy, God leave us.
In this season of Lent, we are invited to examine our lives and open our hearts to God’s renewing grace; it is a season of conversion and reconciliation. We are the children of God our Father and the adopted brothers and sisters of Jesus. As members of God’s family we are to be about the “family business.” We forgive seven times seventy times; we give our coat as well as our shirt; we walk the extra mile and turn the other cheek. Why do we do these things? Because God does them, and as the children of God we are to do what the Father does. Jesus our brother is the model of how we are to act. If we want to know how God wants us to act; then look upon Jesus who is the image of the Father and follow his actions. So let us be saints. Let us celebrate Lent by allowing God’s grace to renew us and invite God to come and dwell within us.
Fr. Paul Robichaud, CSP is Postulator of the Cause for Canonization Isaac Hecker.