Do we have the courage to be embarrassed if God asks us to do something that takes us out of our comfort zone?
At what length would you go to when you clearly hear God asking you to do something completely and utterly foolish for Him?
For me, I learned the other day that I wouldn’t go that far, and it humbles me.
There is a Catholic church in my area (Our Lady of Peace) that is coordinating bus rides to the Walk for Life (which I encourage all to attend) on January 23rd. While I was there, however, I saw a man near the church who was struggling with his clothes. It was evident that he had some physical handicap, and most likely was also struggling mentally. When I came closer I could see that most of his pants were wet, and some of his shirt, and he had unzipped his pants and pulled up his shirt to air it out – presumably to dry them. I wasn’t sure the cause of it, but it just hit me so hard. It really moved my spirit to want to do something… but what?
I had money in my wallet, which I had intended to use for the tickets. But I felt like money wouldn’t get him what he needed at that moment. Then I thought that maybe I could give him my jacket or sweater? It was cold out, but he already had a sweater, even though the bottom of it was wet. What the poor man needed more than anything was a dry pair of pants.
I thought about it, and all in a moment – in an instant – these thoughts flooded my head –
“Whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do unto me” (Matthew 25, 31-46).
When Saint Francis met the leper and kissed him.
The Saints would do this. Saint Gerard wouldn’t hesitate… why am I hesitating.
Should I give him my pants? No! Then I would have to go home and get a new pair before going back to work, and I may have a meeting at work. Someone could notice me. Maybe he would reject me. Maybe he isn’t even my size.
As it became clear to me that the Lord was indeed asking me to be so humble as to give this poor man my pants, I protested regretfully – making any and all excuses. And as valid as those excuses were, the salt in the wound was my knowledge that this is what makes a Saint a Venerable to begin with anyway – their heroic virtue. Here was my big chance to practice an heroic virtue! And I pushed that thought out of my head, got in my car, and drove off!
I prayed for the man still. And I asked the Lord to forgive my weakness. To not allow that man to suffer because of my pride. In the grand scheme of my entire life, a little humiliation was too much to bear. How sad I am that I didn’t take that opportunity.
I’m writing this so that YOU don’t make the same mistake. Take those opportunities then and be a friend to Jesus!
At this point, I think it is appropriate to mention how often we only think of sin as something we do. In fact, there is also the Sin of Omission, which depending on the circumstances can be more heinous than a sin of commission. Thinking back on Matthew 25, our Lord in the end sends those who didn’t do something to the least of his brothers into eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
Although I know our Lord knows our hearts, knows our feelings. He also presents these opportunities for us in the hope that we will take advantage of them for our benefit.
Pray for me, and you can be assured of my prayers that you will recognize when God is calling you to be united to His Son – who humbled Himself even to die naked on the Cross for us.