Dear friends, Our Lady in Medjugorje begged us to convert because, if we wait for the time of secrets, for many it will be too late. With this new blog initiative we offer the possibility of taking a journey of conversion with weekly reflections to meditate and live. (You will find them gradually in the section: Spiritual Combat)

26. To become holy, learn from the ant

If I tell you that holiness is the goal of every man’s life, you will probably look at me with skepticism. You willingly grant me that some people are called to live heroically from a moral and spiritual point of view. Indeed, you are absolutely convinced that without the saints the world would be a desert and inhospitable land. But, object, the majority of men are made up of people whose main concerns are of a material and temporal nature. Isn’t it true that the multitudes are primarily concerned with satisfying primary instincts, completely forgetful of the inner life?

Unfortunately you are right, dear friend, but what you have before your eyes is not the humanity that God created in the splendor of his grace, but the one fallen and brutalized by sin. Divine mercy bent over it, and you too have experienced it, to call it to new life. In Jesus Christ, holiness is not an abstract ideal, but a concrete reality that is proposed and given to everyone. With his grace every man can follow him and imitate him. If you follow the school of Jesus, you will walk quickly on the path to holiness.

            Now that you are engaged in the journey of conversion, I would like to clear up a misunderstanding according to which holiness is a goal that is not within everyone’s reach, but only to a privileged few. This cannot be, because holiness is the very goal of life, by reaching which man is fulfilled and achieves happiness. You too understand that the goal of happiness must be accessible to everyone, since everyone craves it. St. Augustine, when he was still in the difficult stage of conversion, looking around him said to himself to encourage himself to decide: “If this and that became saints, why not me?”.

            In fact, if you think about it carefully, the starting point is the same for everyone. In fact, every man is born sick and prone to evil. The saints, before becoming saints, were fragile and sinful men like us. How did they become saints? With the help of grace and their good will. But, dear friend, isn’t it true that grace is granted to everyone and that good will depends on each of us? Don’t forget that some of the brightest stars of holiness have been great sinners. 

                Now listen to me: if we are all born in sin and everyone is granted the grace of Christ, why do some become saints and others not? You will have to admit that the difference is only made by good will. This is the decisive and discriminating factor between those who live their life on the path of holiness and those who waste it along the path of mediocrity and evil. The reason why many Christians retreat from the universal call to holiness is due to a false concept they have formed of it. They associate holiness with extraordinary works, for which you think you are not suited. Indeed, many saints were exceptional people, to whom God gave gifts and entrusted particular missions. However, there is an immense multitude of ordinary saints, many of whom are unknown to men, but well known to God, who have experienced health in the ordinary dimension of their lives.

                Many hesitations and perplexities dissolve like fog in the sun if you understand holiness in its genuine meaning. There is no doubt that there are extraordinary paths to holiness, which are connected to particular needs of the Church and of souls. How many figures of saints dominate us and almost frighten us due to the severity of asceticism, the depth of doctrine, the works carried out in social and ecclesial field, for the miracles performed. However, these are extraordinary vocations, while the majority of the faithful are called to follow a much simpler path, which consists in the practice of human and Christian virtues in the context of the tasks, duties and commitments of daily life.

“Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29). Follow your path of perfection by striving to create, day after day, a heart that is humble, pure, gentle, compassionate, patient and detached from the things of the world, as was the heart of Jesus. Does all this seem difficult to you? The journey begins and as you progress you will feel stronger, while you will increasingly discover its beauty and greatness. However, I want to give you a very concrete indication, so that you can have a certain point of reference that you are on the right path. In the strict sense, holiness is the white garment of sanctifying grace with which you were clothed with baptism and which you regained again with the sacrament of reconciliation. On your path to perfection, be vigilant to keep yourself in God’s grace or to regain it as soon as possible, in the sad case that you have lost it. Then the virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit will flourish in you, even without your knowledge and in the most total concealment of a normal life.

The desire to become saints is not pride, but a response to a call. However, set out by making yourself as small as an ant. Small and black as it is, no one notices it. Don’t seek visibility, appreciation and recognition from men. There is a hidden holiness, known only to God, that we will know in heaven. Then our amazement will be great when we realize how many there are who we thought were the last and instead are the first. Unless God ordains otherwise, decide for this type of healthcare, the one that most people don’t see. It is the safest and least exposed to the dangers of the proud serpent. It is the same holiness of Mary, kept hidden from the eyes of the world, but infinitely brighter than that of all the saints.

From the ant he also learns tenacity. He watches as he holds the grain of wheat, bigger than her, tightly in his mouth and carries it to its destination without letting it fall. In the same way, you hold firmly in your grasp the decision to become a saint and do not allow it to melt like snow in the spring sun. Holiness is a work of daily patience. Every day you have to take a step forward. Every day you have to add one brick to the building you are building. Sensational gestures are not needed, but rather the dark dedication to daily duty.

From the ant he learns the virtue of perseverance. After every disaster they always start rebuilding again. Along the path of holiness you may slow down and even fall. The important thing is that you never leave it, to follow the broad path of perdition. Only those who persevere to the end will be saved (see Mt 24:13). Trust in divine Mercy will be of great help to you. Ultimately God doesn’t care how much you managed to accomplish. It matters to Him that you, in your misery, trust in his goodness and in his forgiveness.