You'll notice one of the links to the left on this page is Catholic Thought. This ranks at the top of my reading list each morning. Sometimes I follow links on their lead page, and today I opened up a letter written by Archbishop Chaput of Denver to his people. The entire article is solid, as are all the writings from Archbishop Chaput. Here is a snippet from this particular letter:
"Holiness isn’t some magic formula available only to the obviously pious. It’s the simple, daily decision to live differently from the habits of the world; to place the needs of others before ourselves. We can all be holy. That’s our vocation. That’s why God created us. We only need to turn our good intentions into good actions—one day at a time."
I've been leading a study group for a small group of women here in London. We are reading and discuss "Letter to Women" written by John Paul II in anticipation of the Beijing Conference in 1995. We are challenged through out the discussion to understand how we approach holiness, how we approach our particular role as women in our families, communities and society in general.
Words, like Archbishop Chaput wrote, and quoted above, help me remember that my purpose isn't to become famous, wealthy or gather large numbers of people to "follow me." Rather, my real purpose is to live an authentic life, to be the gentle light drawing others to Christ and ultimately back to union with the Trinity in heaven. In turn, I am drawn to others, especially when my path veers off, by their own gentle lights.
The analogy of a gentle light is important to me. Often I get distracted by much brighter lights. You might be able to relate. They can be those glaring lights that loom from the covers of tabloids and magazines as I stand in the checkout line. It can come from just reading daily news items, being drawn in by the brighter light of celebrity gossip, a tragic accident, the bickering of politicians, even gossip. Fortunate or not, I haven't made the deeper connections that come from living in the same area my whole life, so most gossip I am in the presence of does not draw me in as tight as what I remember growing up.
But these other bright flames, I need to be very wary of. When my attention wavers, I can find myself being caught up in failing to live different habits than the world wants us to live.
May you each be given the grace to follow the gentle light, as well as be a gentle beacon to others. And may we all be together in heaven ... even those who don't know they have gone astray. Perhaps most especially we can pray for those who appear to be so far off the road, that they be gifted with lights to pull them away from destruction, and back to sanctity.