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Footsteps

It takes great perseverance to follow in the Footsteps of Our Lord…

My Friend (Helen Thomas Robson)

I heard a beautiful anecdote about a Protestant man and a priest the other day and I have been reflecting on it ever since…


A Protestant man and a Catholic priest were talking about their Faith. The Protestant man had questions about a few points in relation to our Catholic faith… In particular he was curious about Marian devotion, celibacy of priests, mortification and obedience. The priest’s response was simple – “I follow in the footsteps of Jesus. I do what He does. I love Mary because He does. I am celibate because He is. I mortify myself because He did. I obey because Jesus obeyed. I follow in the footsteps of Jesus.”

I found this little story is very beautiful because the priest followed in the footsteps of Christ because he wanted to go where Christ goes and do what Christ does… And there is such a sense of surrender in doing such a thing as that!

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux wrote in her autobiography, “Story of a Soul” about her experience of spiritual dryness. But Saint Thérèse refused to waste any opportunity for mortification – being determined to follow in the footsteps of God. And when this state occurred for her, Saint Thérèse wrote, “Sometimes when I am in such a state of spiritual dryness that not a single good thought occurs to me, I say very slowly the ‘Our Father’, or the ‘Hail Mary’, and these prayers suffice to take me out of myself, and wonderfully refresh me.”


And I have been reflecting on this refreshment that can be gained by walking the footsteps of Our Blessed Lord. After all, Christ taught His disciples to pray the Our Father. And I doubt He did that by racing through the words at a million miles an hour. I am sure that when Christ prayed, He prayed slowly, and thoughtfully. I am sure that He prayed mindfully – focusing His attention on each word and thought of prayer…


“Slowly,” wrote Saint Josemaría, “Consider what you are saying, who is saying it and to whom. For that hurried talk, without time for reflection, is just noise, the clatter of tin cans. And with Saint Teresa, I will tell you that, however much you work your lips, I do not call it prayer.”


For Saint Teresa of Avila too experienced terrible spiritual dryness – for over 18 years, despite her vocation as a nun, and her eventual recognition as a Doctor of the Church. And yet, she was content to wait for Christ to call her.


It appeared that she followed the same advice that Padre Pio (a much later Saint) provided when he said, “Be content to progress in slow steps until you have legs to run and wings with which to fly.”


For Saint Josemaría advised us to pray not for comfort in our prayer – but for perseverance. For it takes great perseverance to follow in the Footsteps of Our Lord…


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

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