"God calls everyone to holiness, but without forcing anyone's hand. God asks and waits for man's free acceptance. In the context of this universal call to holiness, Christ then chooses a specific task for each person and if he finds a response, he himself provides for bringing the work he has begun to completion, ensuring that the fruit remains." (John Paul II: Homily at the Beatification of Five Blesseds, Rome, 1997)

candleflame.jpgAlthough Pope John Paul II did not specifically proclaim these words in reference to St. Damien, they are very fitting. Fr. Damien had a specific call, one which challenged him to his very core, for although he had a true love of mission he was not necessarily prepared for such a drastic change in his life. He came to the leper colony on Molokai somewhat apprehensively, slightly fearful, meaning to keep his distance from the disease. But grace sustained him by giving him courage born of love, and soon he literally, as well as figuratively, embraced the lepers. Fr. Damien answered the call moment by moment, step by step, as God provided the light.

God values our obedience, and if we say yes to Him, He will offer that same illumination with each small step we take. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, the psalmist tells us (Psalm 119:105); God will give us the light to see His plan, perhaps not in its entirety, but little by little as we stay faithful to Him. Our relationship in Christ is based on trust, for we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinth. 5:7). Today, tell God you will answer His call for YOU, and take one tiny step in His direction.

St. Damien of Molokai, pray for us!