My life changed the moment I realized we are called to serve God in every state of life. No matter where we find ourselves, holiness is not just for those called to a religious vocation. Saints are not only people with extraordinary circumstances and gifts. They are sometimes just ordinary people. People who have submitted to their state of life with great devotion and confidence in God.
Venerable Anna Maria Taigi lived an extraordinary life through her vocation as wife and mother. Through the mundane of every day life she was able to discern God’s call to leave behind the vanities and worldliness that surround her for a pious life. She turned her home into a sanctuary where she grew in great virtue while raising her children and tending to her husband. She considered family life a great mission to get to Heaven.
Daily, through the needs of her family, she was able to practice mortification, self-denial, patience, and humility. She ascended into great holiness and developed into a mystic where she experienced ecstasies during prayer. Many people came to her home just wanting to be in her presence. She remained humble and hidden in her housework throughout her life.
It takes a special grace from God to realize the beauty hidden in mortification and self-denial. So many of us look at housework as a chore that we have to do instead of a gift that can ultimately lead to our sanctification. No one likes the idea of self-denial and abandonment of self-will for the greater glory of God, but through prayer these things not only become inviting, but they become necessary.
As we continually unite our will to God’s we can no longer ignore our call to perfection. Humility is no longer something we fear but something we can’t help but seek out. The same goes for all other virtues. Nothing else is satisfying but the complete abandonment of self-will.
What strikes me is that this doesn’t seem like a happy life. Most people will read her story, shrug their shoulders, and decide that’s not the life for them. They’ll go back to their own ways. Focusing solely on themselves and their own will for their life all the while thinking that it will lead to happiness. Our selfish culture has produced nothing but sadness. There is a suicide epidemic, a drug epidemic, a mass shooting epidemic, yet we refuse to believe in the healing powers of Christ.
Focusing all of our attention on ourselves; our appearance, our problems, our popularity, our talents, our failings, etc. leads to a deep hole that we can never fill. The answer to your struggles are not found in your beauty or success or popularity. The answers are found in giving it all up. In surrendering yourself to the will of God. This leads to deep happiness, not only in heaven, but here on earth. Here in the mundane, in the pain, in the loneliness, in the despair.
No its not easy. But neither is sitting around being depressed about the life you wish you had. I truly believe that we get to choose, no matter what the outside circumstances, to answer God’s call right here, right now, in the suffering. Jesus is the only message of hope and more people need to be truly convicted of that.
Lose yourself in Him, and surely you will gain everything.