Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 14, 2018)

This Sunday we begin the liturgical season of Ordinary Time. Our New Year’s resolutions have already gone the route of ordinariness. Yet St. Francis de Sales tells us that we are called to live an ordinary life in an extraordinary way. One element of this extraordinary way is our good desires to live a holy life. Francis notes:

What other flowers do we have in our heart but good desires? As soon as good desires appear, we need to prune away all the dead and useless obstacles that stop us from living a holy life. Bad habits come galloping on horseback as they enter our heart but leave slowly on foot. In this enterprise we must have courage and patience. After striving to be holy for awhile, we generally recognize that we are still subject to many imperfections. It is easy then to become dissatisfied, disturbed and discouraged. Yet we must not let our heart give in to the temptation of giving up everything and going back to our old way of life.

On the other hand, there are those who think themselves perfect before they have scarcely begun. They try to fly without wings and are in great peril of a relapse on being too soon out of the physician’s care. The work of growing holy ought not to end until God calls us to our eternal home. We must not be disturbed by our imperfections. Unless we see them, how can we transform them? Our victory does not consist in being unconscious of them but in recognizing them. We are always victorious as long as we continue to struggle to overcome them. We are never conquered unless we lose courage. Imperfections and venial sin cannot deprive us of spiritual life. Thus, we must have a good opinion of those we see practicing virtues imperfectly, since we know that the saints themselves have often practiced them in this manner.

(Francis de Sales, Introduction to a Devout Life).