• Sarah Raad


“Today, God invites you to do good; do it therefore today. Tomorrow you may not have time, or God may no longer call you to do it.” (Saint Alphonsus Liguori).

Fallen Angel (Alexandre Cabanel)

A few weeks ago, I listened to a talk on the internet, by an American Priest, Father Corapi. In that talk, I heard many things about the importance of the role of the Church, and most specifically, the importance of the Pope and Bishops in interpreting the doctrine of the Church.

I listened to the entire talk and though I thought that it was very interesting, it was only as the talk was drawing to an end that I heard something profound that has stayed with me ever since.

Right at the end of the talk, the priest said something in passing. And yet – though to that priest that comment may have seemed so inconsequential that he merely threw it into the talk as an aside – I am sure that it was for these few thrown words alone that the Holy Spirit guided me to that talk.

Now, that I probably have your attention, you must surely be wondering what this man said.

Well, he said that… though at the end of our life we either go UP to Heaven or go DOWN to Hell, we do not go alone… We take many souls with us, for we are hosts for other souls on that journey.

I have not been able to get this message out of my head – because it is not really the first time, I have ever heard this.

You see, I am the eldest child of eight children. And my maternal grandmother – herself the mother of eight children – always told me when I was a little girl (and continues to tell me today), that it is my job to set the example for my younger siblings. My grandmother has told me that over and over and over again that if I am bad then all my siblings will be bad and if I am good then all my siblings will be good. Now I am sure that many a psychologist will tell you that this sort of pressure placed on me is one of the reasons that I am now half mad, but actually her words make an awful lot of sense – though I must admit that each time she gives me this instruction, I half listen and nod my head politely, smile and say, “Of course, Siti (Grandma).”

And though I have heard her words, and tried to be a good role-model, but have not made it the focus of my life.

And yet, the other day, when I heard that priest in his talk, it occurred to me, that when I have heard these words all my life, a part of me resented them. Obviously, though I am a sort of responsible person who tries to be good, a part of me was thinking, “Why me God?”

Often, when I have felt called to “say it like it is” with my family of origin, I have thought to myself, “Why me? Why God do I need to do this? Why is it always me who has to be the bad guy?”

I do not relish my role. I do not enjoy it. It is exhausting. Sometimes, I need to plant a seed and water it and fertilise it and poke around in the soil for literal months and years before someone actually listens to what I am trying to say.

It would be easy to be proud. It would be easy to say that I am always right. But, of course, I am not. I trust in God to keep me humble, because I believe in the words of Saint Augustine, who said, “It was pride that changed angels into devils, it was humility that makes men like angels…” And how like the angels, I would like to be…

In that talk the other day, I felt a cup of cold water poured over all my past resentment. It was as though I had heard the words of Saint Alphonsus Liguori who said, “Today, God invites you to do good; do it therefore today. Tomorrow you may not have time, or God may no longer call you to do it.”

And so, listening to the words of Saint Vincent I acknowledge… “The most powerful weapon to conquer the Devil is humility. For as he does not know how to deploy it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.”

And so it is that with humility, I can dare to hold myself a host for others. For how I long to journey upwards. How I long for it!

Saint Therese of Lisieux said, “I am certain that even if I had on my conscience every imaginable crime, I should lose nothing of my confidence; rather I would hurry, with a heart broken with sorrow, to throw myself into the Arms of Jesus.”

And so, with confidence, as a host of others, it is into those Sacred Arms that I dare to climb…

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

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