Monday, November 20, 2006

What Do YOU Want?


"When (the Blind Beggar) was brought to Him, Jesus asked, "What do you want me to do for you?" He replied, "Lord, please let me see."
-Luke 18:40-41

The question, taken from today's gospel, is not only the question Christ asks of the blind man, but the question He asks of us, asks everyday if we listen. On the surface, I can echo the blind man's request; my eyesight is pretty horrendous, and even with contacts and/or glasses, it can be a struggle so 20/20 would be nice. And of course, with a little thought, there soon is a whole litany of requests; faith for my children, an ever closer relationship with my wife, a writing and speaking career that actually pays the bills, a Notre Dame victory over Southern California Saturday... And yet, it comes down to just one thing. I want to be a saint. Or, do I?

Of course, Christ loves that last prayer, and He never fails to answer it on the rare occasions when I ask it with sincerity. If I had to name the one gift, the one "answer" that God has given me toward that goal, it has to be the love of Holy Communion. I'm sure it was no coincidence that I grew up in and attended grade school at St. Pius X Parish, for this great Eucharistic Pope summed it up perfectly:

Holy Communion is the shortest and the safest way to Heaven. There are others: Innocence, for instance, but that is for little children. Penance, but we are afraid of it. Generous endurance of the trials of life, but when they come we weep and ask to be spared. The surest, easiest, shortest way is by the Eucharist.

So now that I have the easy one, the daily bread (as my patron St. Augustine called it) down, I had better get cracking on to the harder ones. Unfortunately another quote (from St. Augustine), tends to apply to me here also, "Grant me chastity and continence," said the great Saint before his epic conversion, "but not yet."

Everyone (unless you are already a saint) has one or two of these "hindrances." For my friend Sam, it was smoking, for Notre Dame Head Coach Charlie Weis (and a host of other great coaches), it's swearing, for me, it's junk food. Despite the fact I'm not fat, fasting is a killer for me, not to mention abstaining from fast food. And, even though I know that nothing earthly should have even a remote hold on me, I don't often ask to be "delivered" from it. In fact, by my actions, I'm actually asking Christ (or is it Marie Antoinette?) "Let me eat cake!"

But then there are those (including a recent confessor) who countered, "A little comfort food. So what's the big deal?" True, one cannot say how much closer to sainthood - or heaven - such a sacrifice would get me, just like I can't tell my daughter exactly how much closer she'll be to swimming a state time if she gives up the sweets. But even if the sacrifice saves you just a fraction of a second (in the pool or purgatory) do we not owe God that? Or, from another perspective, if my giving up junk food helps my daughter even one iota in her quest to do the same - do I not owe it to her? "For whatever you do for the least of my brothers (or daughter) that you do unto me" -Matt. 25:40

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