“In fact, a saint is not one who carries out great feats based on the excellence of his human qualities, but one who allows Christ to penetrate their soul, to act through their person, He being the real protagonist of all their actions and desires, who inspires every initiative and sustains every silence.
To let oneself be led by Christ in this way is possible only for one who has an intense life of prayer.“
– Pope Benedict XVI, July 16, 2012, Message on the 450th Anniversary of the Carmelite Reform
Pope Benedict reminds us that to be a saint we must be led by Christ in prayer. This isn’t an easy concept for our 21st Century world — at least, not for most of us.
And what makes it even more difficult is that prayer takes many forms and seems necessary at so many times that are just plain inconvenient. You know: when you are crossing a street and see a crazy driver. Or, when your teenager who is not intent on treating you with respect confronts you. Of course the most inconvenient times are the morning when we are rushing off to work or getting the kids ready school, and the end of the day when we are just plain tired.
Christ needs to be given room in our hearts and minds to work the genius of God, even when we don’t particularly feel like accepting that genius. To let ourselves be led by Christ is one place that prayer begins. It continues on to that place where, whether you are quiet and composed or frazzled and downright upset, you are able to say those critical words: God, here I am, help me, please.
And sure enough, we trip and do a pratfall as Christians often do, but we get up and try to be better for the next time. As we take our vacations, let us refresh ourselves in the spirit of Christ. God, I am here, help me, please.
Just keep doing this thing we Christians call prayer and you will have joined Catholics the world over who join with Pope Benedict and say: God, I am here, help me, please.
It is a prayer of beauty and love that penetrates the mind, body and soul of the clay vessels we are and try to hold together.
Peace and Grace,