The Slow and Steady Process to Holiness

We come to Courage to grow in holiness. Our desire to be chaste and our efforts to remain chaste express our commitment to become holy. We live in a world where everything is instantaneous — just think of how we communicate with Instagram, WhatsApp and emails and the demands for instant replies. It is no wonder that people want things fast, even immediately: ‘give it to me now’; ‘let’s get the job done asap’; ‘why wait? do now!’

People with SSA might expect to overcome the temptations of lust after a few sessions in Courage, or a healing retreat, or more prayers or repeated efforts to abstain from pornography, masturbation and sex. The truth is that we all need time to live chastely and become holy. We need time to keep working at our attitudes, choices and lives to accomplish these. We only need to look at the saints to know this truth; all of them took a lifetime to become holy. They teach us the wisdom to be patient with this slow and steady process of becoming holy. They do not rush to get the job done to become holy so that they can go and do something else. They are patient because they know that God is doing something during this time — it is that important and sacred action of God working on us to get us done right.

‘Letting God get us done right’ is the key message Fr Mike Schmitz makes in a talk entitled ‘Letting God Take His Time.’ Here are the key points he makes (paraphrased):

We all want to get the jobs or work in our life done quickly. However, the more important and right thing to do is to get any job or work done right.

The challenge before us is to be patient, not impatient. Many of us are naturally impatient: we want to get the job or work before us done as soon as possible so that we can go on and get the next one done, then we move on to the next and get it done and then move to the next. We simply want to get going by getting the work done quickly and fast.

What’s missing when we do that is the work of the moment, and, more so, the worth of the moment. The real worth of the moment is encountering God in that very moment of work. We will never encounter God in the future or in the past. The only time we encounter God is in the present, in that moment. In that moment is the only time we have to say ‘yes’ to God, to pay attention to God or to ignore God. All too often we keep looking to the future and miss God in the moment. We need to remember that the only moment we have with God is the now.

In so many parts of our lives we want to get things done as soon as possible. We don’t want to strive for patience or overcome fear or to learn to love people over time. So, we ask God to give us patience, courage or the ability to love immediately. We say ‘let’s be done, God’. But God doesn’t answer us immediately. God is patient. God doesn’t want the final outcome. God wants us to be formed right. This is why God wants to give these and much more to us in his time and in his way. Why? Because God wants to get us done right. And this takes time over many moments. God wants to do this so that we can do what’s right eternally.

The work of the moment is God’s moment to get us done right. When we can recognise that this how God works to get us right, then we recognise the worth of the moment — that it i not just for the now but for always.

You can listen to his talk here:

Having listened to Fr Mike, the following questions invite you to reflection and prayer this week:

  • As a person with SSA, you have heard God’s call to be holy by being chaste. You are making the effort to do this in various ways. Yet there are moments when you fall into sin. Are your frustrated that you keep failing? Do you find yourself impatient in your struggle to overcome temptation and sin? Spend some time and share with Jesus your responses to these questions. Be honest as you can because Jesus really wants to know how you feel.
  • Fr Mike speaks about paying attention to the moment — that work of the moment when we will encounter God. When we do, we can pay attention to God and say ‘yes’ to God. This, he says, is the worth of the moment. Can you remember a moment or two when you had such an encounter with God? How did you respond to God in that moment? Why was this moment or two of significant worth to you as a person with SSA?
  • ‘The work of the moment is God’s moment to get us done right.’ What grace would you like to ask God for so that God can get you ‘done right’ to live life happily and purposefully? Ask the Lord for this grace now.

Words of Encouragement for this week

God doesn’t let us stand still.  God is always labouring for our wellbeing and happiness.

Let us keep each other in prayer this week, asking the Lord to help each of us grow in his ways to become holier with each step we make.