“…whenever this priest (Venerable John Ridaura), already very advanced in years, was asked how many years he had lived, he would reply with great conviction…‘Very few! Only those I have spent serving God.' For many of you here, the fingers of one hand are still sufficient to count the years since you made up your minds to follow Our Lord closely, to serve him in the midst of the world, in your own environment and through your own profession or occupation. How long is not all that important. What does matter is that we engrave, that we burn upon our souls the conviction that Christ's invitation to sanctity, which he addresses to all men without exception, puts each one of us under an obligation to cultivate our interior life and to struggle daily to practice the Christian virtues; and not just in any way whatsoever, nor in a way which is above average or even excellent. No; we must strive to the point of heroism, in the strictest and most exacting sense of the word.” (St. Josemaria Escrivá)
This is a beautiful and very timely thought for Lent – that we strive to the point of heroism for our faith. Fr. Escrivá also makes the point that the length of time we have does not really matter – it is the effort we put into the time we have. I thought of that and remembered “with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day” (2 Peter 3:8). Our faith is supernatural – who knows but that one person living their faith sincerely and heroically for a short time – even a day - may influence the world more than a thousand people living their faith nonchalantly?
This is the challenge to us all, especially during the season of Lent: let us take our prayer, penance, fasting and charity seriously, heroically! Let us take “Christ’s invitation to sanctity” to heart and live these 40 days in the shadow of the Cross, willing to sacrifice for Him.
St. Josemaria Escrivá, pray for us!