Every second, every minute and every hour, God is calling us to be holy. To be good stewards of the time we have been given, we need to make a conscious decision to choose how we decide to follow His call. So often, we can let our thoughts, words and actions go into autopilot. Unfortunately, if we’re not actively driving and making decisions, we can end up further away from our destination. It’s the easier road to take, but God calls us to take the straight and narrow road.

Pope Francis reminds us:

“If we wish to follow Christ closely, we cannot choose an easy, quiet life. It will be a demanding life, but full of joy!”

Experiencing tension in the Christan life is unavoidable. There will always be moments when we must wrestle between our current inclinations and who God is calling us to be. Often, we are wrestling with little things in our daily lives such as choosing to subdue our temper when our children are having a tantrum, choosing to serve those around us when we just want some time for ourselves or choosing to do the tasks, we have been putting off instead of procrastinating.

The path to holiness may seem like it is composed of our choices and efforts, but this is not so. We experience a great tension when choosing to pursue God’s goodness, but our efforts are only fruitful when we consent and are open to the enormity of God’s grace. In our efforts, we usually give very little compared to what God gives to us. Still, we must continue to make the conscious effort to pursue holiness, and this means learning to be proactive, rather than reactive in our daily lives.

Being proactive before the tension

We should not expect to be able to run a marathon without any training. Likewise, we cannot expect to be saints without the proper measures in place.

We all have different temperaments and dispositions. We also come from different families, upbringings and circumstances in our environment. All these factors play a part in determining how we are inclined to act. However, our inclinations are not always in line with who God calls us to be. In understanding our inclinations, we can start to put together a plan to be proactive in our Christian life.

We should ask ourselves: How do we automatically react to different people around us and why? How do we react to events out of our control? How do we react daily to the circumstances in our lives? Most importantly, we should consider: are our reactions in line with who God is calling us to be? If not, what plans can we put in place? Once we can humbly understand our weaknesses, we can begin to prepare ourselves.

Grace is Sufficient

When we are wrestling between who we are now and who we are called to be according to the Will of God, we should remember St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians:

And he said to me: My grace is sufficient for thee; for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. For which cause I please myself in my infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ. For when I am weak, then am I powerful.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

We are never alone in our struggle. God is with us and if we allow His grace to work in us, we don’t have to experience this tension by ourselves.  There will be times when we will fail, but if we resolve to humbly get up and keep going, we will continue to follow God’s Holy Will in our lives.  We should also keep in mind that when we experience this tension, God is lovingly drawing us closer to Him and thus we should step back and allow Him passage.

‘If we would completely rejoice the heart of God, let us strive in all things to conform ourselves to his divine will. Let us not only strive to conform ourselves, but also to unite ourselves to whatever dispositions God makes of us.’

Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

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