Don’t let who you aren’t yet, distract you from who you truly are.
You are beloved.
Sitting in my dorm room, 21 years old, crying my eyes out in anger, I had just let my guard down again, letting loneliness and hunger and the busy-ness of school turn me inward and to the internet for a quick fix of pleasure. I was dissatisfied with my life and had no agenda except to avoid this pain. I was a ship being tossed around the ocean of self doubt, broken, with no idea who I was. And NOW, the frustration of not being who I thought I should be; that pure, holy, saintly man, was a like a Kraken ready to destroy me. The thoughts of shame and guilt swirled into a frenzy…
I had tried everything. Accountability, time in the chapel, the sacraments, books, and mentors. I gave my life to Jesus. Why wasn’t I holy yet!?
Like the Prodigal Son, filled with paralyzing fear, I sat there “tending my swine, dying of hunger, longing to eat my fill of the pods on which the swine fed,” when all of a sudden, there in my anguish, knowledge of my true identity overcame me.
I heard the Father call my name. I remembered again that He waits for me, that sometimes He even runs to me, and that He still holds a place for me at His table… even now. With hope in my heart, I trudged back down to the chapel to go to confession, for the third time in one week.
Once I became a husband and a father quickly thereafter, this story reoccured almost every month. Now, almost in my forties, I feel like I have to get up out of my pigpen and return to the Father every single day. I once believed the myth that you can become a saint overnight simply by doing saintly things. It was a scam. It is the ultimate scam of God’s enemy. It is a lie that distracts us from being known and loved by the Father.
Like “get rich quick” scams, the “get holy quick” scams are abundant. They are horrifyingly subtle, sophisticated, and absurdly successful. And unfortunately, many of us are a part of their sales team.
“Read this book, take these steps, start this program. You too can become a saint overnight!”