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  • Sarah Raad

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“I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, He can work through anyone.” (Saint Francis of Assisi).

Saint Francis of Assisi adoring the Crucifix (Bernardo Strozzi)

I have been reflecting on my life prior to my conversion, which occurred while I was praying for my niece who as very very sick some years ago. My conversion occurred through GRACE and no merit of my own.


People often ask me whether I prayed for that conversion. I did not. But others prayed for me – my father and my sisters and my mother too prayed for my conversion daily (without my knowledge) for years prior to the moment when it occurred.


And I have been reflecting on that fact today. You see, I recently read the words of Saint Francis of Assisi who said, “I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, He can work through anyone.” And I feel some affinity to Saint Francis in this sentiment.


You see, I too was all things unholy. I do not state this fact because it is something that I am proud of – I state it because it is the greatest wonder of my life to know that despite this unholiness – on the basis of prayers that were prayed for me (even without my knowledge or consent) – my Beloved came and found me to show me the Way…


For there is a whole NEW way of thinking to be found in this new way! And it is beautiful and HOLY and peaceful!


Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face said (and her words were recorded by her sister in “Last Conversations”)...


“I always see the good side of things. There are some who set about giving themselves the most trouble. For me, it’s just the opposite. If I have nothing but pure suffering, the the heavens are so black that I see no break in the clouds, well, I make this my joy! I revel in it! I did this during Papa’s trials, which made me more glorious than a queen.”

You see, Saint Thérèse also saw the Way. Her Beloved came to her and showed it to her. And there is such a wonder in knowing that I share this Grace with the Saints!

And knowing this Grace is provided to me and seeing it through the expression of my life, I also know that I am NOT guaranteed sanctity. Rather, the inspiration of this Grace has caused me to come to realise that the more one grows in holiness, the further away from sanctification one feels. And the saints have proved this through their actions and beliefs time and time again. Saint Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes said, “When I'm dead, they'll come and touch holy pictures and rosaries to me, and all the while I'll be getting broiled on a grill in purgatory. At least promise me you'll pray a lot for the repose of my soul.”


And she said this thing because the more she grew in holiness, the more she understood the INFINITE condescension of God, who MERCIFULLY permits mere human souls to enter into His presence in Heaven ETERNALLY!


Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, in speaking of her impending death, said, “After all, it's the same to me whether I live or die. I really don't see what I'll have after death that I don't already possess in this life. I shall see God, true; but as far as being in His presence, I am totally there here on earth.”


And so today, I pray the prayer of the Saints, which I learned from Servant of God, Mother Angelica, “Lord don’t let me chicken out if You have something hard for me to do.”


For, I have come to understand that Saint Francis of Assisi is correct… “If God can work through (Saint Francis), He can work through anyone.”


For we are all provided with enough Grace to become saints. All of us…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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