Galatians 5:18-25;Psalm 1:1-4, 6; Luke 11:42-46
Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24)
Rivalries, anger, jealousy, envy, selfishness—many of these “works of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19) sound very familiar to us. In fact, thinking about the ways in which we stumble, we might be tempted to think that we’re completely hopeless! But that’s not how God thinks about us. We belong to him. Our sinful passions were crucified in Baptism, and we are now filled with his Spirit.
So why do we still falter? Because the call to holiness is a process, and our sins don’t disappear overnight. Thank God that he doesn’t judge us by a snapshot of our worst moments! What about this outburst of anger? What about that envious thought? God sees them all, but he sees a bigger picture as well. He never loses sight of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. He never forgets the Spirit he has placed within us or the natural goodness we all have. Neither does he forget every time we say no to temptation or every time we reach out beyond ourselves to help one another. He sees it all, and it makes him smile!
So don’t be disheartened when you stumble. The truth is, you’ll never see perfection in yourself short of heaven. However, with each choice you make to yield to the Spirit, you make a little more progress toward Christ. That’s why God offers you forgiveness each time you fall. That’s why he offers you his own Body and Blood as consolation and strength at Mass. He wants to help you stay on the path.
Before you go to bed tonight, take some time to review the day. Don’t just look at the works of the flesh that you gave in to. Look also at the fruit of the Spirit that you demonstrated. Be encouraged at your victories, and ask the Spirit to strengthen you where you are weak. Whether it’s an issue of patience or self-control or fortitude, look to Jesus and to his mighty power. Let the good news of his love bring you peace! Then get a good night’s rest—for he will never abandon you!
“Lord, I rejoice in your cross and in the power of your Holy Spirit at work in me. May my heart be always open to your call.”~WAU