A recurring thought I have had of late leads me to question: if I died today, would my soul be fit to stand judgment and be deemed worthy of gaining entrance to Heaven?
When Celine, St Therese's beloved sister shared this same concern with The Little Flower, she was reminded by Therese that the only way any of us can make it is with God's help. She reminded Celine that His Hand is always there to give us the support we need, if only we would ask.
We will always encounter people who seemed to have achieved a greater sanctity than we have, just as we will always meet those people for who even the smallest degrees of holiness are a constant struggle. Let us not concern ourselves beyond emulating the former wherever possible and rejoicing when the latter take even the smallest steps toward greater union with God.
Some of us, myself included, lead lives that barely resemble those of our past. We should not dwell on past mistakes and failures but rather remember that the laborers who arrived late to the vineyard received the same compensation as those who toiled from the earliest hour.
"Behold I make all things new."
How wonderful is Our Lord that He means to do this with us, no matter how wretched we are?
"As often as you beg for it, you glorify My mercy" (1488)
It is a trick of the devil to have us constantly second-guessing and doubting. It is also a form of self-attachment. These obstacles can be overcome and the more we will seek sanctifying grace through prayer and the sacraments the more equipped we will be to get past them.
No one is able to run a marathon without first learning to run a mile. Soon one mile becomes five and after time and training, the endurance and conditioning is there to run the distance.
What is your mile? Is it learning the discipline of daily prayer? Is it learning to silence the judge that sees not the beam but reaches for the speck? Is it the form of self-denial that comes with making an honest, blunt and brief confession that does not seek solace from the confessor but rather admonition for sins committed? Is it sitting still for an hour before the Blessed Sacrament? Is it putting up with that person who always manages to get under your skin without responding to them in kind?
Train for the marathon by learning to be faithful to running whatever it is that makes up your first mile. And if you are left gasping and out of breath, look forward and resolve to try harder the next time. Rejoice for those who finish ahead of you and pray for those who trail behind. Keep your eyes on Christ. And remember that no matter how many times you quit running or fall down, He will still be there waiting for you and always ready to lavish His mercy on you.