When is it Enough?
The lives of the saints are a great mystery to us. How is it that ordinary men and women, both lay and religious, can slip the surly bonds of sin and fall in love with Jesus so deeply that they give up their selfish nature, pick up their cross, and follow Him?
Sure, we hear all the time that we should pick up our cross, but regard it as little more than a turn of phrase. "It's the ideal, sure, but I'll never do that. No one does." "It's a high standard that I just can't reach because I'm too lost, hurt, and broken." "I'll worry about getting into Heaven when I'm older." "I'm aiming for purgatory, it's much more realistic for my situation in life."
These are the lines we feed ourselves. Small rationalizations for our greed, lust, gluttony, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. We accuse God of being disingenuous. He promised to give us all of the grace and mercy that we need to make it through this life and stay faithful to Him, but we refuse. We prefer our sin to the love of God.
The thing is, there’s no saint without a sinner. There’s no Heaven without trial. There's no life without suffering, temptation, and the hurts of our humanity. There's no saint who doesn't know the guilt and shame of serious sin. There's no saint who hasn't silently struggled with their greatest character flaw. There’s no saint who doesn't know what it feels like to lose out to temptation or to willingly give in to it.
The difference between a saint and you? They knew when to say, "Enough!"
We all share in a silent struggle. We have that one sin, that habitual sin that we just can't seem to shake. It's embarrassing, it's shameful, and it's painful to admit. The only time we talk about it openly is in the Confessional where we're guaranteed complete privacy and anonymity. We want to break free, but we're unwilling to expose ourselves to anyone. Thus we silently struggle, all on our own.
We've tried to break the habit 10 times or 100 times. Yet, we always find ourselves back at the beginning. Maybe it's out of habit. Maybe it's out of choice.
Life, though difficult, was never designed to have you enslaved to sin, a prisoner in your own body. We are to be tested, certainly, but never so much that we're overcome. It's our choice to be overcome, our choice to give in, and thus our punishment to endure. We feel powerless in the moment, but feelings and emotions can be wrong. We have the power to stand up and stop. We have the power to end this silent struggle. We have the Sacrament of Confession and a limitless God full of love, mercy, and compassion. We have His mother and ours, the mediatrix of grace.
So what's stopping you? What's stopping you from declaring today that enough is enough. You've sinned, you've reconciled, you've sinned again. Why not break it once and for all? It will be hard, oh yes. Temptation will flare up because temptation hates resistance. Certainly another sin will take it's place as your primary weakness. You've tried and failed before. But why should the past stop you from being a better person starting right now?
Today isn't about yesterday. Today is about today! Change is hard, but you love a challenge. Temptation will give you a run for your money, but you love a good fight. Another sin will take up residence at the top of your list, but it's lesser to your current one. And besides, you're going to knock it out next. You've tried and failed before, but so did St. Peter. And St. Paul. And St. Thomas More. And St. Theresa of Avalia. And St. Josemaria Escriva. And St. Juan Diego. And St. Thomas Aquinas. And St. Augustine. And St. Pio. And St. John Paul II.
You make the difference. Be courageous. Choose the difficult. Choose freedom.