Friday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time
Finally we have reached the gate, but it is not yet time to enter; now is the hard part of waiting. Oftentimes as we grow in our Christian life we experience times of great fervor and passion, when being a Christian seems easy and we “get it.” The real test of faith can come under the form of persecution, yes, but also from the exact opposite: peace or, rather, ease.
Many saints prayed for persecution because they looked back to those early days of martyrdom and saw an age when being Christian was easy: if you were being eaten by a lion you knew for certain you were a Christian and not something else. In many ways it is far more difficult to be a Christian in our culture today because it is treated with such apathy—from within and without—and is resisted so little that we hardly know if we are living our faith well or not. The challenges brought on by persecution can be, for the Christian soul, like a mold is for molten wax; without those challenges the wax spreads out into a shapeless mass. Here many of us are, waiting, growing lukewarm. Will we have enough faith to last the night?
Brothers and sisters, Christ never gives us simply “enough”; He always gives us everything. The journey to the Kingdom of God is not for the faint of heart! If it were a simple matter of showing up, would He give His Body and Blood for the journey ahead, strength and healing and all else through the other Sacraments, ask that we pray without ceasing, and that we help carry others along the way? Of course not! Christ is generous and likewise expects much of us precisely because the way is hard and the journey long and He doesn’t want any of us to be lost simply because we hadn’t enough.
We do not know when the Bridegroom will come and open the gate for us, but He always gives everything we need to be ready for that moment, though we must remain vigilant. If your faith becomes drowsy for lack of struggle, rely all the more on Christ to challenge you to deeper holiness. Ask how you can love Him even more and you will find ways of testing your faith that will keep it burning hot until the day when all torches are put out, and the night is no more.