From Chapter 1 of Saint Josemaría Escrivá’s book The Way: Character

#1

Don’t let your life be barren. Be useful. Make yourself felt. Shine forth with the torch of your faith and your love.

With your apostolic life, wipe out the trail of filth and slime left by the corrupt sowers of hatred. And set aflame all the ways of the earth with the fire of Christ that you bear in your heart.

*****

The first chapter of Josemaría Escrivá’s book The Way is titled CHARACTER and contains 55 passages. The first of these is above and reads almost like a modern day mission statement. It is in fact a call to action. None of us wants to feel as if we are living meaningless lives with no purpose. We all sense that we have been created for a purpose and spend much of our time wondering what that purpose may be. And here is where we can get off track.

Your purpose may not be to write the next great American novel. Or fund charities with millions of dollars that you’ve earned in an honest business endeavor that employs thousands who need jobs.

Your purpose is to make yourself felt in your immediate sphere of influence. Shine in your interactions with your spouse, your children, your extended family and your neighbors. Whether they are easy to get along with or not, be that selfless individual who breaks whatever negative cycle exists.

Do this with strangers. Whether deserving or not due to a real or imagined injustice they foisted upon you, be the person who shows them a different path. They may not know, or are simply tired and beaten down. Don’t become another hammer reigning blows upon their head. Be an apostle and all that the word implies.

Christ dwells in your heart. Our hearts are barren when we deny this and ignore this part of our nature. A “God-shaped hole” if you will.

Be His arms and legs and hands in the world. Be salt and light. We are all His Body.

How gently and lovingly
You wake in my heart,
Where in secret you dwell alone;
And in your sweet breathing,
Filled with good and glory,
How tenderly you swell my heart with love. 

~ The 4th stanza of The Living Flame of Love by Saint John of the Cross, (1542-1591)

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