Are You Willing?

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Are You Willing?

      The will is a strange thing.  Some people have weak wills.  We call others strong-willed.  We marvel at those who overcome addictions through sheer will-power.  Babies overcome birthing traumas and unresponsive lungs and begin to cry.  A dying loved one holds on until they have seen that last person.  Those facing serious illnesses often overcome them through the very will to live.  Human beings are capable of just about anything if they have the drive, the determination; the will.  “Where there is a will, there is a way.”  So why do so many people give up before trying?  Why do they dismiss an undertaking because they “could never….”?  Why are so many content with mediocrity?  Because embracing the strength that can be found inside even the weakest human being can be painful.  To fully embrace one’s “power of will”, a certain death is required.  The question is asked, “how much are you willing to give?”  Applied to the spiritual life – “how much are you willing to sacrifice?”  Comfort?  Desires?  Time and energy?

      In order to grow into full spiritual maturity, a constant death-to-self is necessary.  Jesus promised that if He suffered, we would, too.  “No servant is greater than his master” (John 13:16).  He also promised He would always be with us.  “I will not leave you orphans” (John 14:18).  If both of these are true, a third conclusion must follow.  Resurrection.  If we are always united to God, we must die with Him.  If we die with Him, we must necessarily rise with Him.  Because of Jesus, death goes hand in hand with resurrection.  If we can allow ourselves to die with Jesus, the glorious resurrection awaits us. 

     G.K. Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”  The success of many goals in our lives come down to how badly we want them.  Do we really want holiness and sanctity and greater union with God?  What are we willing to sacrifice?  Will we give it all, or will we let the fear of our potential hold us back?  It seems paradoxical that catching glimpses of the greatness we are capable of would fill us with fear and cause us to avoid it.  Yet that is what happens.  One of the great tragedies of our time is that too often we look at the possibilities and leave them untried out of fear of the difficulties we could possibly face. 

     If life can be seen as an adventure on the way to Heaven, no difficulty can be too great for us.  If we truly decide to live for God, our lives must make a radical shift.  It will be a daily battle to stay on the path marked for our success.  It will sometimes take all of our strength to continue.  Of one thing we can be sure – if we have the courage to truly persevere in an authentic Christian life, we cannot fail, for “God withholds Himself from no one who perseveres” (St. Teresa of Avila). 


Written by: Catherine