Thursday, January 14, 2010

The saints are crazy!

A few weeks ago, at our Little Flowers meeting, I was talking to my 6 year old daughter and a few of her friends about St. Clare. I told the little girls about how St. Clare ran away from home to follow St. Francis and how she cut her hair off as a symbol of her dedication to God. Then I proceeded to explain about the Poor Clares, the order of nuns she founded, and their way of life which included denouncing all material possessions, living a simple life of prayer, and subsisting on little food.

One of the little girls looked at me incredulously and said, "She was crazy!" This was not what I expected, but her reaction made me smile.

"No," I told her, "St Clare wasn't crazy, she was holy."

Most people in the world seem to agree with my little friend. Holiness, it seems, is viewed as craziness in the world we live in. I, myself, am just starting to understand that true holiness really does require a little something "crazy" though. True holiness, a total and complete focus on and dedication to God, does require us to live in a radically different way than our culture tells us to. The saints were willing to be radically different for the sake of holiness.

Though it is not easy for me, I would like to live more like the saints. I would like to be willing to be radically different than the world around me. My husband and I have had a lot of conversations about this recently. Maybe because our oldest child is now on the brink of her teenage years we have started looking more closely at the choices we make for our family.

We do not watch television, at all. We monitor who our children spend time with. We have chosen to home school. We do not allow our children to "surf the internet" or have their own cell phones, or watch very many of the current movies, and I stay home with our children despite the fact that money is always tight. Many people look at our life and our family, and think we already are living a counter-cultural existence.

We do try but the truth is we could still do so much more. We, as a family, have a long way to go in order to really grow in holiness. Though we try to minimize the worldly influences on our children (and ourselves) our focus is still not where it should be.

The saints are saints because they were willing to put Jesus, and service to Him, at the center of their lives. St. Clare, and all the other saints, were willing to sacrifice all the comforts and selfish pursuits the world has to offer in exchange for something so much better. They trusted in the promise that what they gave in life would be rewarded in heaven.

In fact, they trusted God so much they were willing to do some pretty crazy things for the sake of an eternity of life with Him. As the Bible says in Luke 6:38, "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." I, too, believe in these words of scripture, but am I crazy enough to really live them? Are you?

photo from wikipedia

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