The Spiritual Life: Are We All In?

Are we all in? This is the question that is posed to us repeatedly in the spiritual life whether we are consciously aware of it or not. Do we truly mean to be disciples of Jesus Christ? Do we really want to be saints? On one level we answer this question with a yes, but we still hold back from God. We still believe that we won’t have to give Him everything. Everything. Deep down we still believe that we get to choose the path and the process to holiness. I know that I am asked this question daily, even hourly. With each new test and task, Our Lord is seeing if I am truly willing to do all that He is asking of me.

There’s an episode in the life of St. Faustina that illustrates this point quite well. Our Lord asked St. Faustina to go to her Mother Superior to request to be able to begin wearing a hair shirt as a penance. She is rebuked and told she will not take on any such penances. St. Faustina leaves, confused by what has transpired. Our Lord meets her on the way and explains to her that He is not looking for her mortifications, but ultimately her obedience. Why is this so important?

Obedience is how we show Christ that we are willing to do what He asks of us no matter what, even if it means rejection or ridicule in the process. Rejection and difficulties are guaranteed if we truly seek to follow the path to sanctity. We will be asked to do things we do not understand. They may confuse us or even cause anxiety, but Christ is leading us where He wants us to go. If we refuse Him, then we cannot fulfill the mission He has for each one of us. He cannot entrust greater tasks to us if we are unwilling to be obedient.

What’s even more, if we refuse to do what He asks of us, our souls begin to turn into a chaotic storm. This is because we are living against our very nature when we refuse to walk the path Christ is calling each one of us to walk. A path that will differ very much from our neighbor, even at times, our spouse. We then let in the Enemy who attacks all of our weaknesses with his lies, accusations, and seductions because we are not resting in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. We can only be happy if we are living God’s will for our lives.

I was pondering this truth earlier today when I realized once again how much it costs to be all in. Unfortunately, the saints discovered that a lot of people have no interest in surrendering everything to God. They are content with mediocrity or even doing nothing. This was a source of endless frustration for many of the saints who learned that all they could do was rely on God alone. They learned that it doesn’t matter if the people around them are as dedicated to following God’s will. That is true for all of us. What matters ultimately is that we are trying to do His will and hopefully by His grace that will lead others to do the same thing.

What matters each day is that we keep our gaze firmly fixed on Christ and try to walk where He is asking us to go. There will be many times He will lead us where we don’t want to go, but we must follow Him. We must follow Him into spiritual battles, dryness, doubts, fears, and the difficulties of this life so He can strengthen us. Without these battles, we will never grow spiritually. It is in trial, testing, and trust that we grow in holiness. When we come to realize that we must surrender everything to Him, it is then that we can truly begin.

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