Tuesday, January 26, 2016
those strange saints
Lewis points out that, rather than the syncretism found in many modern spiritual movements, where we think that "all religions are just different roads that lead to the same place", it is more like a tree that branches out and becomes more different as it grows. This has some useful truth to it, but it can also end in some holier-than-thou lack of charity and ecumenism if we're not careful. It's easy to find ourselves thinking "I've got all the correct answers, and you are all wrong."
The useful bit that can be gained from Lewis's insight is this: becoming holier... that is, getting closer and closer to God, and setting aside the sin that so easily entangles us... doesn't make us all boring and alike. Quite the opposite. The more you study the saints, you more you discover that becoming holy makes you very different from everyone else. And when you think about it, that makes sense.
Because God has given each of us different hopes, dreams, abilities, and desires. And when we come closer to Him, and lose our sins, and become truly holy... we realize the deepest meanings of all of those hopes, dreams, abilities and desires. And since they're so different from everyone else... when we find the fulfillment of our dreams, we become different from everyone else.
This also shows us how important it is not to compare ourselves to others. Even sociologists will tell you that comparing ourselves to others is the best way to be miserable. But it makes sense spiritually, too. God gave YOU different goals and abilities than everyone else. How does it make sense for you to try to be more like them? You'll just find yourself trying to flex muscles you don't have.
So I encourage you to find your inner passions. Explore yourself, and see where your abilities and dreams are found. And then, as you grow closer and closer to God, offer up those abilities and dreams. He will help you fulfill them in ways you can't imagine... but they will seem perfect when they come.
God, thanks for making us all so different.