On this day in the Church, we celebrate the life of St. Blaise who was a healer, evangelist, and a martyr. In churches worldwide, we come forward at Mass on Feb. 3rd for a blessing from St. Blaise to be healed of any
throat ailments and other illnesses. He lived his life in devoted service to the Lord and suffered a martyr’s death because he refused to denounce God and abandon his faith. He was willing to die rather than forsake all that was important to him. As we reflect on this saint and the impact of his life in the history of our Church, it is a perfect time to examine our own lives. As we come out of celebrating Christmas, the beautiful season of light, and walk in Ordinary Time, it is a great time to examine our level of commitment to discipleship and keeping Christ at the center of our lives. Are we totally and completely invested in following our Lord and Savior in every aspect of our life – no matter the cost?
We have the remarkable example of holy men and women who are now saints to remind us that we are purposed to love, serve, and glorify the Lord in all we do, think, and say. In a recent Sunday’s Gospel, Mary instructs the servants at the wedding feast to “do whatever He tells you.” These are the last recorded words the Blessed Mother speaks in the holy Scriptures. This is significant and her instruction is relevant to us today.
If we live each day asking God what He wants of us, we will be fulfilled beyond all our imagining. When we follow the path God sets before us, we gain more freedom, not less. When we die to ourselves and our wants, we become more whole, more alive. When we love extravagantly, we become more energized, not worn out. When we are more generous with our time, our talents and resources, we amazingly gain more time to do more things for the Lord. When we cooperate with His plan – everything good is multiplied in our lives.
God calls each of us to become saints, one day at a time, in the grind and messiness of life. We just need to be intentional about listening to His voice prompting us in all the opportunities He provides. This will sanctify us and bring us true joy. It’s important to hear this because the world screams the opposite message. As I write this, I am in the midst of adjusting to grown children leaving our home and repurposing bedrooms and discovering more time to focus on other activities. I am tempted to enjoy more things that are fun, which is good within reason. I can conjure up endless projects that I never had the time to pursue while raising six kids, working, and administering a household, but I have to ask – is this what God wants me to do? Since Christmas, I have been reflecting on all these life changes in my heart and asking for clarity in my purpose in this season of my life. And as always, God does not disappoint. He has been drawing me to more prayer time and daily Mass – and bringing to mind all those I can bring to the altar to pray for. He has clearly shown me how important it is to share more time with my husband – recreating together, talking, and sharing our ideas of what we can do as a couple in this stage of our life to build up the Body of Christ. He has brought to mind the vows I spoke 42 years ago and how I can more deeply live them out today. He specifically reminds me to always choose the most loving thing as I continue to live my vocation as wife and mother. He shows me so many ways to be available to my family and those around me. I am drinking deeply from the well of God’s love, grace, and mercy, finding that opportunities abound for me to live out my discipleship in new and exciting ways. And he gives me refreshment and joy that settles deep in my soul.
I encourage you all, in these Ordinary days of the liturgical year, to take some quiet time to search your heart, mind, and spirit to see how you are doing in the Lord’s service. Are you 100% on board with practicing your faith in your relationships, in your encounters with others, in your thought life, and in all your behavior? Making an honest assessment, then asking the Lord and all the saints to help bolster your courage, strengthen your efforts, and fortify your energy to be the disciple you were called to be will lead you to become transformed into someone extraordinary for God!
“This is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, for the glory and praise of God.” Phil 1: 10-11