One of my favorite lines from Fr. John Hardon, the late, great Jesuit theologian whose cause for sainthood is working its way through the Church, is: “even a corpse can float downstream.”
Yet, as St. Irenaeus famous said, “The glory of God is man fully alive!” If we are fully alive in Christ, then we have the vitality to swim against the current, to work against the pull of the flesh that wants to drag us downstream. And there is no neutrality here: if we do nothing but “go with the flow,” then we we”ll be dragged along with those who have made a conscious decision in favor of the “flesh” as opposed to the life-giving “spirit.”
Those who are faithfully answering the radical call to the consecrated life are the most “alive” people I”ve ever encountered. This past weekend, my wife and I had the privilege of visiting with our daughter at the motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. What struck me even more than the calls to chastity and obedience was the way they live the call to poverty.
Like the woman in today”s Gospel who was healed of her infirmity and was able to stand upright for the first time in many years, these beautiful young ladies are not “bent over” and worried about things here below. Rather, with Our Lord as their strength and constant companion, they see things from a more God-centered perspective. They are free. They appreciate and enjoy everything. They are not bored or thinking about what they”ve ”given up” or don”t have. What an amazing paradox: By becoming poor, they have truly become rich!