Happy October. Not an excuse but I’ve been busy taking in an extensive course on the the entire Bible… I hope to share about it soon. In addition, I’ve been working on some graphic design and I’ve been writing things here and there, on Facebook, on Quora. Yes, I’ve been posting on social media which is free but I’m paying for the domain name and hosting for the neglected blog. How ironic. And wouldn’t you know, it figures. My apologies if I got that song playing in your ears…
I think that part of the reason why I hesitate to write anything here is because I’m afraid of the results falling short of my standards and expectations… I dread the “failure” to effectively communicate everything that I want to get across. Ultimately, this doesn’t matter because we are “called to be faithful, not successful.” (St. Mother Teresa). What is given to me to do, I must do (especially when I don’t feel like doing it). At the very least, what I write will be better than the professional writer who writes nothing. No matter the seemingly poor quality of it. What is required is my faithfulness to it. As GK Chesterton famously wrote, “anything worth doing is worth doing badly.”
This past week provided examples of great Saints who lived the surrender of fidelity. They were faithful to what they were called to, to the very end. These are two of the most popular Saints in the Church, known throughout the world… And yet, according to the world’s standards they were not exemplary models of greatness but pitiable examples of weakness.
St. Francis of Assisi (Feast day, October 4) was called to serve Christ by living out a witness to radical poverty. He was called to resemble Christ, to the point of receiving the stigmata, the five wounds of his Lord. St. Francis had to surrender everything that stood in the way of his mission, from his earthly inheritance to the clothes on his back, and beyond. He was the Joyful Beggar in the streets crying out, “Love is not loved!”
More than 700 years, St. Therese lived a life of surrender in a different way. Of course, she was also called to resemble Christ… But in her own way. She knew that she could not be great in the way that St. Francis was great, or St. Teresa of Avila, or St. John of the Cross. She was too little and could only offer little things. But she could love. While St. Francis’ stands out for material poverty, St. Therese stands out for spiritual poverty. (Not that these two kinds of poverty are mutually exclusive).
These two were different but they they pursued the same end, the all consuming and all-encompassing love of God. They both wanted to be great and became great while living out true humility and real surrender to the will of God.
In my own life, I want to be like St. Francis but I must be more like St. Therese because I am a littler still than she was. And then it seems that I must go the way of physical poverty. I’ve been noticing that it’s getting harder for me to do certain things even on my laptop which I basically use for everything. Recently, I had to surrender some very simple tasks I had volunteered for. Wasn’t easy but it had to be done.
All this leads me back to the beginning of the post. Not only must I surrender the things I cannot do, and the things that are not called to do; I must also surrender the things I can do, the things I am called to do to the Providence of God. He will take care the results. The results are not up to me, but at the same time this does not mean that I should get sloppy, that I should do things haphazardly. Not at all. I must do all that is in my power to do, the rest is up to Him. I have to do my best, regardless, because this is about love. And love is not a feeling… It’s an act of the will, to show up even when I don’t want to and do my best however I can.
I don’t know about this post itself… Being a perfectionist, I can add to it but then I would just keep delaying it. It’s not supposed to be the best thing ever blogged, and I am okay with that.