Happy All Saints Feast Day! I am joyful today, thinking of how many saints are in Heaven with God loving and praising Him, having reached their goal of Heaven. They are ready to do us good by their prayers and being present to us spiritually as we ask their patronage along the way to holiness and onward toward Heaven. I LOVE reading about the lives of the saints. It’s exciting to see how the Lord worked in their lives. It inspires me to be as they were, totally dependent on God for their holiness, and look what He did for them; He fulfilled their desire for Him, strengthened them and sanctified them and now they are in Heaven with him, totally sinless! The saints DEPENDED ON GOD, NOT THEMSELVES for their sanctification. They knew that it was useless to do it on their own. They couldn’t change themselves anymore than a leopard could change its spots. They let the rays of the SON shine on them, which gradually faded and eventually ERASED their faults and sins. What a wondrous thing!
Now another thought..does God still perform miracles in our day and age? You bet! How do I know? Because with each saint that has been canonized, there are miracles that happened as a result of their intercession that led to their being canonized. Now think of how many have been canonized by Pope John Paul II AND Pope Benedict. That’s ALOT of MIRACLES!!
WE are called to be saints brothers and sisters! YES it’s true. So, we better get on the stick! The UNIVERSAL call to holiness is there for everyone because our sanctification is the will of the Lord. Why ELSE has He come? Think of it..Jesus came so that we could live selfishly WITHOUT HIM, living a life of uselessness and then at the end…be abandoned, NOT making it to Heaven? I think NOT! Such a thought is dreadful. How can we live a life not considering that Jesus sacrificed for us? Let us get to the business of our sanctification, because of what Saint Augustine says, “He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent.”
I have a special tool to tell you about that I am very excited about. It is short and sweet and to the point and will allow you to participate in your own and others’ sanctification. I recieved an e-mail from one of my favorite Apostolates, The Mary Foundation, which I have come to depend on for great resources in living the Catholic life. They have many wonderful CD’s to listen to, great Catholic literature to read, and now they have unvieled a tool that I think will bring many back to a more fervent practice of the Catholic Faith. It is a seven-page booklet entitled, “Seven Daily Habits for Faithful Catholics.” It is written by Father John McCloskey, who has brought many converts to the faith, such luminaries as Dr. Bernard Nathanson, Lawrence Kudlow, Robert Novak, Judge Robert Bork, and Senator (now Governor!) Sam Brownback. (This is on their website, Catholicity.com). Imagine..bringing a former abortionist, such as Dr. Bernard Nathanson into the church! By the grace of God has this been done!
I have read this booklet and I just want to highlight a few things that struck me. On the first page Father McCloskey makes no bones about it..”There are no easy substitutes. Sanctification is a work of a lifetime and it requires our determined effort to cooperate with God’s sanctifying grace through the sacraments.” Gee, that’s just what the Saints did. They cooperated with God’s grace through the sacraments! Listen up everyone, this is the school of Heaven; the most important information you will want to read on how to cooperate with God’s grace. This is our only true happiness, to know God in this life and be with Him in the next for all Eternity!
He writes, “Attempting to evangelize others without the sacraments and a solid interior life will be ineffective in the long run. You can be sure that all the saints incorporated, in one way or another, all of these habits in their daily routine. Your goal is to be like them.”
First, don’t try to do it all at once or you may fail. It is a gradual work of progress. “Next, with the HELP of the Holy Spirit and your favorite SAINTS, you must make a firm commitment to make the seven daily habits the priority of your life-more important than meals, sleep, work, and recreation”. Wow, these activities take up a lot of our day, how can we possibly make these seven habits more important than all of these things that we do every day? There again, ask the Holy Spirit for help in knowing how the change is to be made and ask your favorite saints for their prayers and help in showing you how to do this. You cannot do it on your own. “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it will be open to you.” (Matthew 7:7) Anyone who sincerely wishes to change and asks God for help will not be disappointed! It will happen for you, just persevere.
For those of us worrying about losing time, don’t worry, you can only gain time when you put God first! He always rewards those who do so. Father McCloskey says he “has never met a person who has lived the seven habits on a daily basis who has become less productive, a worse spouse, or had less time for their friends. On the contrary, God multiplies your time, as He did with those few loaves and fishes that fed the multitude”.
I won’t write about all of the seven habits because I want you to read the booklet for yourselves and share it with everyone you know. These points are just a teaser of what wonderful nuggets await you. The one thing that really got me was what he says must happen before you even pray the Morning Offering. I have written about the importance of making the Daily Offering in one of my first posts. Father McCloskey says what happens before the Morning Offering is crucial. He gives a quote from Saint Josemaria Escriva, “Conquer yourself each day from the very first moment, getting up on the dot, at a set time, without granting a single minute to laziness. If with the help of God, you conquer yourselfin the moment, you have accomplished a great deal for the rest of the day. It’s so discouraging to find yourself beaten in the first skirmish.” Fr. McCloskey says it’s the “Heroic Minute”. “Get a full night’s rest and then conquer the Heroic Minute-the very first moment when we wake up- when we will have the physical and spiritual wherewithal throughout the day to incorporate the seven habits into our routine.”
Let me tell you, I can attest to this truth. I am often tempted, after burning the candle at both ends, to keep pressing that snooze alarm. When I do keep pressing it in my half asleep state, I lose precious time that I could be spending with God! Get rid of the snooze alarm! When I get up on the dot, conquering myself, I am in a much better frame of mind to cope with the day’s activities ahead! I can give my first fruits of the day to My Lord and God, since he is the Lord of time to begin with.
Now I will conclude with some of his ending comments. ”If you take an honest account of your day, no matter how busy you are, you will usually find that you have wasted time. Perhaps you can forgo an hour or more wasted on watching television, fiddling around on the Interent or playing video games. The point is, if you make loving God your highest priority, the time is already there during your typical day.” Oh I know I am guilty of wasting time, especially with the Internet. I am convinced that if we do not limit ourselves on the computer, our entire lives will be wasted! We must conquer ourselves with the computer as well as in that heroic moment upon waking.
Finally, “A few years from now, your life and the lives of those you love will be dramatically transformed because Jesus wil be able to form you more powerfully several times a day, every day, month after month, year after year.” This comment at the end gave me that PUSH for desiring to make the Seven Habits a part of my routine NOW, because I want to be transformed into the image and likeness of my Lord and see the lives of my family and friends also transformed. Giving the wasted time in my life over to God, filling it with Him instead is the single most greatest thing that will no doubt make me into a Saint for His Honor and Glory, one step at a time.
Now, the call to holiness beckons to YOU. Take action and order this booklet for yourself. O my Gosh, order as many as you can and hand them out, leave them in church, give them to people you wouldn’t think of giving them to..just order and give them. The Mary Foundation promises to give you a great price for large quantities. Take them up on the offer and become part of the Apostolate for much better Catholic living, as opposed to the mentality of just doing the minimum required to get by. You can’t imagine the graces and treasures you will have. Go to http://www.catholicity.com/booklets/ or write for it, Mary Foundation Booklets P.O. Box 26101 Fairview Park, Ohio 44126. This booklet is already producing fruit in my own life and I simply CANNOT keep quiet about it! May all the Saints and Angels in Heaven intercede for us for our salvation, that we may be Holy and BLAMELESS before God and gain Heaven!
God’s Abundant Blessings to all!
Post Script: I am adding this note a day after I posted on the Universal Call to Holiness. I received an e-mail from Medjugorje with the message from Our Lady for November 2, 2011 and I wanted to include this message because it confirms what I wrote in my blog posting. Read it prayerfully, along with this posting to see if you detect the common thread. Here is the message:
November 2, 2011 Message to Mirjana
Today, November 2, 2011, Our Lady appeared to the visionary Mirjana and delivered the following message:
“Dear children, the Father has not left you to yourselves. Immeasurable is His love, the love that is bringing me to you, to help you to come to know Him, so that, through my Son, all of you can call Him ‘Father’ with the fullness of heart; that you can be one people in God’s family. However, my children, do not forget that you are not in this world only for yourselves, and that I am not calling you here only for your sake. Those who follow my Son think of the brother in Christ as of their very selves and they do not know selfishness. That is why I desire that you be the light of my Son, that to all those who have not come to know the Father – to all those who wander in the darkness of sin, despair, pain and loneliness – you may illuminate the way and that, with your life, you may show them the love of God. I am with you. If you open your hearts, I will lead you. Again I am calling you: pray for your shepherds. Thank you.”
Visit http://www.medjugorjelive.org to discuss this message with other believers!
If you see the common thread in both messages, comment and let me know please.