Today’s video is the story of a woman who had been paralyzed from the neck down. It would take her countless hours of physical rehabilitation and effort to regain her basic capacity to walk.  It is a story that sparks hope in the heart and opens up horizons that perhaps many of us have long stored in the “impossible” folder.

A Deeper Look- The path towards holiness.

The video lays out a sort of program that anyone can follow to reach their dreams. In this case, as Catholics, it is important that we understand that life is a true gift, an adventure to be lived, an opportunity to discover the “full happiness” that Christ offers us. Still, the adventure of Christian life always entails crosses, crosses that can lead to discouragement, failures, and, worst of all, despair: that horrible interior motion when we no longer find the courage to raise our eyes to the heights of what God calls us to be.

 So, what are the steps in this program?

1) Inspiration: Cynthia, while surfing the largely meaningless content on YouTube comes upon something that changes her life, a source of inspiration. Stumbling on Karen’s “learn to dance in a year” time lapse, she becomes a witness to the fact that progress and growth are realities within her grasp. “I saw what she did through sheer practice, I knew I could do it too”.

 A very similar moment took place around 400 years ago. Saint Ignatius as he lay wounded in his brother’s house, read the lives of the saints to while away the time. Touched by grace, he cried, “What Saint Francis and Saint Dominic have done, that, by God’s grace, I will do.”

2) Humility: The process of growth is commonly a long, unexciting, and subtle one. Results appear, but many times they are slower and costlier than what we might have hoped or expected in the beginning. Certain weaknesses, wounds, vices, etc. are found to be stubbornly rooted in our daily performance. Prideful ambition, in this case, is a deadly virus to be avoided at all costs.  “Just 10 seconds a day, every day…I feel good taking small steps on the way.”

 3) Courage to accept oneself: Take a moment to make a brief examination of conscience. Look at yourself and your life in the mirror. What do you see?  Within the combination of both good and bad, I guarantee you that you are more than what you see, much more. So, here there are two considerations to be made, both of which are necessary for an adequate vision of oneself: your constant situation and your ideal situation, the goal of holiness towards which God calls you.

The beauty of Cynthia’s attitude is the fact that, being all too aware of her limitations and her current state, the conviction that she should “live a life worth living” took root in her interior and gave her the foundation and strength to never loose sight of that precious horizon.

4) Perseverance on the Cross: As Cynthia says, “I may fall 7 times… but I’ll get up 8”. What a simple yet eloquent expression that captures the daily battle we all must wage. How often do we allow the negative aspects in our lives, the vices, the failures, the sins, to block our vision of who we are and what we are called to do? The decision to stand up constitutes an act of faith in our Creator, love for ourselves, gratitude for all those who have believed in us, and witness for all those who will look to us for hope amid their own falls.

When Christ calls us to carry our cross and allows these “thorns” to remain in our side, he reminds us of a fundamental lesson for Christian life: those fissures in our lives remain open so that we might experience Christ’s grace penetrating and working through them. Thus, if we maintain our hope in Him, and work to collaborate in this process of beautification by means of these “fissures”, we can confidently trust that we are advancing along the path of fulfillment and holiness.

Questions for dialogue:

Who inspires you in your life? Do you have a devotion to any saint? By their example, do you truly believe that you can reach holiness?

How is your attitude when it comes to overcoming difficulties? Are you lazy? Indifferent? Overly ambitious? What did you learn from this video about a humble approach towards growth?

How clear is the horizon of holiness in your life? Can you visualize a holier version of yourself? Do you exert yourself in cooperating with Christ to be who He calls you to be?

How perseverant are you in your daily battles? Do you try and do things on your own, or do you have friends to help you and encourage you? Are you aware of the importance of your testimony for others?