Every time I watch a movie that involves a hero winning a fight, I always leave the theater ready to take on the world. A few weeks ago I saw Spiderman and walked away ready to fight to defend the poor and helpless like he tries to do in the movie.
After watching a karate movie, I’m overly confident in my ability to chop a piece of wood in half with my bare hand. After I watch ‘Rocky' my voice gets a little deeper and I start to practice my punching combos in the mirror. Guys, you know what I’m talking about. Girls, I'm sure there's an equivalent of these things for you.
The fact is that every time I see a hero in a movie do something awesome, I want to do the same. However, thinking I’ll hit like Rocky or climb walls like Spiderman is not realistic and will likely get me in over my head. The heroes we look up to train very hard to be ready for the big moment. Firefighters train for a long time before getting on the truck and going to put out fires. The 2008 Olympics wasn’t Michael Phelps’ first time in a pool.
Do You Want Greatness?
We all want to excel in the big moments but so often we neglect the small chances to be great. Last month I asked a camper at Life Teen's Camp Covecrest what he wanted out of life and all he said was 'greatness.'
The truth is, we choose greatness every time we choose Christ. It's those small moments when no one is looking and it would be so easy to make a selfish, lazy, or sinful decision. Those are the golden opportunities to do the right thing. So how in the world can we do that? It’s so difficult to choose the right thing in the big moments if we aren’t doing it in the small moments.
The Path is Clear
Our goal as Christians ultimately is to reach full union with God in Heaven. That should be reflected in our everyday lives here on Earth. We have to live with the end (eternity) in mind. My brothers and sisters, this is difficult to do. So often we get confused over which decision is right, or we beat ourselves up when we realize we've made the wrong decision. I urge you to take to heart the words of St. Therese of Lisieux,
'I know of no other means to reach perfection than by love . . . holiness does not consist in saying, thinking, or even feeling beautiful things. We are called to love in the little things. To love is to give everything and to give oneself.'
You see, it's a great and wild adventure we've been called to – to love God with all of our hearts. There is a never dull moment when you are pursuing Jesus Christ. The challenge and the reward await you in the same place: To choose God in the little things. Mother Teresa once said, 'Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.'
I can remember a time in high school when I was invited to this big party the coming weekend. I didn’t want to go but I knew the people going would really put pressure on me and hound me until I went.
I knew this was my opportunity to be great and choose the better path.
Since I found out about the party on Tuesday, I figured I had plenty of time to prepare to say no. So each day that week I prayed for courage. Every time an opportunity came up to be lazy or sin, I pushed through it and tried to be the best I could.
I paid attention in class. I didn’t tell any lies no matter how insignificant they may have seemed. I went to bed at a reasonable time and woke up early to pray before school. I controlled how much I ate and didn’t overindulge. All of these small decisions paid off because on Friday when I was being hounded and my friend showed up at my door, I had the courage to stand strong in my convictions (by the grace of God). My obedience in the seemingly unimportant decisions really helped me with the crucial one.
We need proactive Catholics in our world. Waiting until the moment of trial or temptation makes choosing holiness almost impossible. When you wake up, beg for the grace to choose God all day.
Greatness is out there but it won't come easily. We have to seek it out and fight for it. This world has plenty of bystanders; it needs more heroes. Our Lord is calling you to greatness today. Let's pray for each other that we would respond to Him.