The Lord said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your family and your father’s house, for the land I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name so famous that it will be used as a blessing.
‘I will bless those who bless you:
I will curse those who slight you.
All the tribes of the earth
shall bless themselves by you.’
So Abram went as the Lord told him.
2 Timothy 1:8-10
With me, bear the hardships for the sake of the Good News, relying on the power of God who has saved us and called us to be holy – not because of anything we ourselves have done but for his own purpose and by his own grace. This grace had already been granted to us, in Christ Jesus, before the beginning of time, but it has only been revealed by the Appearing of our saviour Christ Jesus. He abolished death, and he has proclaimed life and immortality through the Good News.
Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone. There in their presence he was transfigured: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them; they were talking with him. Then Peter spoke to Jesus. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and from the cloud there came a voice which said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.’ When they heard this the disciples fell on their faces overcome with fear. But Jesus came up and touched them. ‘Stand up,’ he said ‘do not be afraid.’ And when they raised their eyes they saw no one but only Jesus.
As they came down from the mountain Jesus gave them this order, ‘Tell no one about the vision until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.’
“…relying on the power of God who has saved us and called us to be holy…”
In this present societal climate, we celebrate independence and self-reliance. We teach our kids, toddler to adolescent, to be independent and do things for him/herself. This is an admirable trait for sure. We cannot rely on other people to do everything for us. We do need to work and better ourselves, in school, in work, and in life.
That said, there are so many things in Catholicism, indeed Christianity, that defies the common and human views. It is this idea of reliance I had a hard time wrapping my head around. Taught to always do things for myself, I have a hard time asking and accepting help from others. I feel that I would owe them if I accept their help and I don’t like owing anyone anything. Of course, no one is an island and we all need others, be they family, friends, or strangers — I am no exception. Sometimes, it is easier for me to ask strangers for help rather than close relations.
When I read that God has saved us and called us to be holy, and we need to rely on His powers; I must admit, part of me was aghast. Should we not try to be holy and work towards being deserving to be in the presence of God? How could we approach the perfect God with ‘dirty’ hands and feet like a child who has been playing in the mud? I understand that Jesus saved us, but in my mind, I thought we need to do our part too. I didn’t quite understand and couldn’t reconcile the two. At least, not until I went through the Faith Studies program at my local parish. Like I mentioned, being a cradle Catholic, I remember a lot of the readings and parables etc, but I truly didn’t understand the messages. Faith Studies helped clarify some things for me, although I still have a lot to learn.
Contrary to the current societal belief, we are not able “to do everything if we put our minds to it”. Especially when it comes to the spiritual growth and betterment of our soul. Our fallen human nature prevents us from achieving perfection (not in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense). We need the guidance of God, the grace of God, the enlightenment of God, to truly do the will of God. There’s an old adage, “Our minds may be willing, but our bodies are weak”; it probably is more appropriate to say when it comes to being holy, “our minds and bodies are weak and we need the grace of God”. Before you get angry or upset with me for saying that we are incapable of good; let me say that you are, we all are, capable persons in terms of family, work, etc. What I am saying is that we are not able to be holy without God’s help. We need to rely on Him for the grace to become the kind of person He wants us to be. That is not to say we don’t have to do anything. At the very least, we need to desire to be holy, we need to want to be better, with divine help. There is no shame in that, in having to rely on God. In fact, we should be so thankful that He loves us so much that He sends His only son to redeem us and to guide us to become holy. I have my hand raised as a signal that I need help, I am relying on God to become a better version of myself, to become truly His child.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)
Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to realize all that we are, all that we have are Graces given to us. Let us to turn to You for help without fear.
Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, we thank you for Your love and mercy, for granting us Your Graces when we actively pursue them.