In the first reading today, Saint Paul gets stoned by the local population, and is thrown out of town like rubbish. They believe he is dead. God was not done with Paul yet, as he still had lots of evangelizing to do, and more suffering to endure. He gets up, dusts himself off, and gets back to work the next day. What a great example of not giving up, and enduring suffering for the Lord. Saint Paul
Knocked Down and Getting Up
There was a legendary USA style football coach named Vince Lombardi. He was the coach of the Green Bay Packers, one of the early teams in the National Football League. He was quoted as saying “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.” This is not just a modern or American saying. Confucius is quoted as saying “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Our Lord fell down three times as he was paraded up to Golgotha. He got up each time and completed his mission for us. We all have been knocked down or fallen down physically. There is another way to fall down, as well, which can be just as painful and dangerous.
We are all sinners, so by definition, we have all fallen spiritually. We may fall into spiritual dark places. We may fall into a pit of despair, or stumble into a period of lukewarm belief. Mother Teresa wrote of becoming spiritually dry, but she kept working through it. God calls all of us, not just Mother Teresa, (who is now Saint Teresa) to be Saints in our own way. This means getting up from those spiritual falls, and moving on with our journey, even if we aren’t the devout nuns in the slums of Calcutta.
As a Faith in Action project, try to get to confession in the near future. This is tough to do in these Covid-19 times, but it’s worth a try. This spiritual event will “dust off” our souls after having fallen. Try praying or studying our faith a little differently, to add new light to our lives. Trying listening for God’s advice, rather than just asking all the time. Take comfort from your wounds, knowing that Satan wants to trip up good people, and make them fall, and not get up. If you are reading the GVM reflections, then you must be “good people”, after all! Be ready for spiritual warfare, as it’s happening every day.
We’re all going to fall down physically and spiritually; you can count on that. Stay strong, and make sure to get back up, even if you aren’t a Green Bay Packers fan.