As a newly formed Catholic that must wake up daily and choose to believe and live the faith, I realize that this is not an easy task. It is much easier to sleep in a bit later, put in headphones or plug into a device during transit, watch a favorite series as opposed to pray, and to live each day according to my own personal needs and wants. In fact, I find that there is a tendency within myself to favor those kinds of choices and most times, even to fall prey to them. For years I have been pleased to split a bottle of wine with a friend, listen to music that has a catchy beat and lyrics that I pretend not to notice, and even join, or remain present, in conversation that would offend those who were the subject of our discussion. But since I know that a single glass of wine is more than sufficient for my tolerance, there are plenty of songs that have both a great sound and meaning, and that to truly love another is to think of their needs before my own- I have failed. Mostly I know that it boils down to fear of embarrassment, or offending those present, and wanting to fit in. St. Peter, in Romans 7:15,18, says it perfectly:
I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh, I can will what is right, but I cannot do it.
So when the past few months have been filled with media and social spheres discussing things like gender dysphoria and same-sex marriage, I found it easy to be discouraged. The emotions that stirred within me were a mix of disappointment and confusion with a heavy dose of sadness as I attempted to process how the world has been changing. Even hopping onto media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, or Instragram I found myself in the midst of a whirlwind of conversation from those strongly opposed to those celebrating a victory and I discovered that it would be so easy to join in the proclamations. But I knew once again that the Lord is not asking me to do what is easy.
Instead, He reminds me of last week’s Gospel from Mark 4:35–41, where the disciples are in the midst of a storm on the sea and shout to Jesus, “Do you not care if we perish?” and calmly He, who was always with them, replies, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” And during times like these, when we feel as though we are perishing, this scripture serves as a reminder that we have already been saved and that our Lord is ever-present.
So instead of looking at the world and seeing how drastically our lives and culture are changing, I have decided to take up my rosary, my crosses, and acknowledge that what is wrong with the world is that I am not a saint.* I know that I must root out even the smallest instances of selfishness and self-serving and to let my fight for personal sanctity be my greatest goal and greatest victory. For as God spoke to me in daytime prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours,
Be calm and remember that I am God. Supreme over all nations, supreme on earth.
His love always wins.