In life, as disciples we belong to a community and are not alone in our desire to follow the ways of God. We are given the grace to have a heart ready to give thanks. And with both of these gifts, we find within ourselves a comfort in asking for help.
We can confidently turn to God and other people and ask for assistance and support. Our discipleship frees us from thinking that everything must depend on us. It allows us to be free in our efforts to grow and become better people and better disciples.
Each of us has a small collection of inadequacies and weaknesses. We each have our history of sins and disappointments. No one is without guilt and a few regrets in life.
At times, our struggles and faults seem to get the best of us. We allow them to enclose and define us. We aggressively build facades and attempt to show the world that we’re fine and everything is all right. Such a sad state, however, gives us no liberation towards reform. We are stuck and unable to ask for help in seeking to change our lives for the better.
Our discipleship and openness to God breaks this chain of events and brings light into this darkness. God humbles this fallen world view and calls us to himself and to our original dignity. In realizing our worth as human beings, we find the freedom and strength to fight the despair that allows sin to define us.
With our facades gone and our masks removed, we can see the fullness of who we are and the exalted vocation that is available to us in God. We can become comfortable with who we are, and begin to see our need for God’s help and the assistance of other people.
In such an expansive arena, we do not permit our weaknesses and sins to have the last word. We turn to God and to our loved ones for assistance and support as we begin to die to the fallen parts of our life, and to develop the goodness within us. We see the workings of God’s grace and the encouragement of a neighbor’s love as we slowly develop more into the person God calls us to be and that we desire to become.
As we make these efforts, we realize that love involves sacrifice, commitment requires obedience, hope summons faith, and goodness found in the help of God and others is its own reward.
Father Kirby is the parochial vicar at St. Mary Help of Christians Church in Aiken.