The Bottom Line Up front: Think about your character
Character is not something we are born with. It is something we develop through our habits on a daily basis. The guiding principle of St. Francis de Sales‘s Spiritual Directory affirms that each day offers us multiple opportunities to embody and enact the faith we profess. Saint Francis de Sales’s life and words are a good example. He taught that we work toward sanctification gradually by becoming who we are in God’s eyes and being that perfectly. That is essentially the definition of character. We cannot expect to be men and women of character if we do not practice good and holy habits. Those are the prerequisites of a good life.
How do we do this? First, we must think about it every day. Have you ever had those days when you just go through the motions? You feel like you are just going from here to there and getting through your obligations, not really thinking about why or how or what you are doing? This can happen easily when we are not purposeful about our daily life. In the first day of this series, we spoke of just showing up and doing the bare minimum. The next step is going beyond the minimum and attempting to live according to Gods’ Holy Will for our life. This is not an easy thing to do or even to discern, but we must try every day. We might not be used to thinking deliberately about how we want to live or how we want to be instruments of God’s love in the world, yet if we want to be authentic Christians we must think about these things.
Saint Francis de Sales suggests making a resolution to “obey the will of God, especially during the present day. Use the words of the royal prophet David: My soul, will you not cheerfully obey the holy will of God, seeing that your salvation comes from him? (Ps. 62:2)” (Live Today Well p. 191) It takes courage to ask God each and every day for the help to overcome the things that keep us from Him. This is what we do when we resolve to live a holy life. We can say with the psalmist,
I have asked you one thing, O Jesus, my Lord, and I shall ask you again and again, namely, that I may faithfully carry out your loving will all the days of my poor and pitiable life. (Ps. 27:4;40:9).
While it might sound simplistic to simply ask God each day for help in fulfilling His will for us, it is far from simple. God has promised that if we ask, he will give it to us. If we seek, we will find. We must ask. We must seek. We must desire to live a life that is worthy. Otherwise, we will find ourselves going through the motions, even as Christians.
If you remember one thing:
Sometimes we forget to think about how we want to live, but by bringing this to mind each and every day, and through our prayer, we can become more purposeful and better discern the holy will of God in our lives.