I want to thank you for being with me in this journey through the first letter of Peter.
The overall themes in this letter are easy to see: humility, discipline, strength, and endurance. These things are brought up in today’s passage. It takes humility so that we may be one day exalted. It also takes humility to cast all of our anxieties onto the Lord because we have to acknowledge that we can’t solve our problems without His help. It takes discipline to resist temptation. It takes strength to be steadfast in our faith. It takes endurance to deal with the sufferings inflicted upon us on a daily basis.
If the last few days have felt like a spiritual boot camp, they probably were. In fact, the words “spiritual boot camp” bring to mind St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of a lay order called Opus Dei. The name may sound familiar to those who hear the conspiracy theories concocted by Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code, but none of those theories are true. Opus Dei means Work of God, and it was a lay order that emphasizes becoming holy through doing ordinary things with a Christian spirit. There are approximately 83, 000 and 1800 priests who are members of Opus Dei today.
The other thing that Josemaria Escriva was famous for is his book called The Way. The Way reads like a devotional, with little quotes and guidelines from Josemaria Escriva about ways to improve life. My personal favorite is “Don’t say ‘That person gets on my nerves.’ Think ‘This person sanctifies me.’” I think we all have a tendency to compare ourselves to other people and find ourselves lacking. This comparison often leads to anger and jealousy. So how can someone we hate sanctify us?
I’m not the kind who usually compares herself to other people, but unfortunately, I still fall prey to it, especially when the person I compare myself to seems to be prettier, more successful, and wiser than me. I get angry and seethingly jealous just thinking about this particular person. However, after I set my anger aside, I realize that I can still learn from this person, even though I am jealous of them. I can learn to value myself just as they cherish their looks without being vain. I can strive to achieve my own goals, knowing that I can have my own levels of success. I can learn from their wisdom and apply it to my own life.
I recommend you look up some quotes from Josemaria Escriva or think about the problems in your life and the people who get on your nerves. How can the problems of our lives help sanctify ourselves? How can we use humility, discipline, strength, and endurance with the trials that we face? It all starts by asking God for help in keeping calm and carrying on.
Today’s featured song is “Stronger” from Mandisa. There are a lot of songs out there that are inspired by the motto “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Just keep in mind that it starts with the humility to admit that we aren’t strong enough on our own. That God gives us the strength to press on. That we need the discipline of the Holy Spirit to be vigilant and faithful. That we can endure all things as long as God is at our side.
Be strong like an Amazon, my dearest sisters in Christ!