Four years ago in the parking lot of the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, I scribbled the core mission and purpose of Virtue Connection. I needed to define what the Holy Spirit was asking of me. I wrote, “Tell them who they are.”
Not a new thought — St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” God sent us Jesus, son of God and son of Mary, to show us in the flesh who we are.
Virtues are habits of doing the right thing — like gratitude, prayer, and patience. These Christ-like habits are the only way to become fully human. Because we are created in the image of a Divine Person, Jesus, and share in His divine nature (that’s God’s own affirmation of your great value and worth!).
Here’s how St. Peter puts it: “[T]he greatest and priceless promises have been lavished on us, that through them you should share the divine nature and escape the corruption rife in the world through disordered passion (2 Peter 1:4).
As usual, Peter nails it: the corruption in the world comes from us loving (worshiping) the wrong things.
For example, I have been hurt by the actions of a few people in the past week. I have a choice to do the “natural” thing and get them back, but that would mean I’m worshiping my own ego. Or I can do the Godly thing and pray that they find peace and that I gain greater humility. Praying to see myself as God sees me (humility) is a supernatural thing. It can only happen if I have said “yes” to sharing in the divine nature of God. And that is who I really am.
It’s who you are, too!
As we celebrate Pentecost, the words of St. Cyril of Alexandria (375-444) can inspire us to always choose to live the divine life — in a fully human way.
“After Christ had completed his mission on earth, it still remained necessary for us to become sharers in the divine nature of the Word. We had to give up our own life and be so transformed that we would begin to live an entirely new kind of life that would be pleasing to God. This was something we could do only by sharing in the Holy Spirit.
“It can easily be shown from examples both in the Old Testament and the New that the Spirit changes those in whom he comes to dwell; he so transforms them that they begin to live a completely new kind of life. Saul was told by the prophet Samuel: The Spirit of the Lord will take possession of you, and you shall be changed into another man. Saint Paul writes: As we behold the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, that glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit, transforms us all into his own likeness, from one degree of glory to another.”
Sisters and brothers in the Spirit, let’s grow together in virtue to become who we really are!
P.S. Virtue Connection is all about practical help to live the divine life. I created an online mini-course called “Path to Patience” to help me be more patient (more virtuous!). It’s helped my students, too. Click here to find out how you can get the benefits of more patience, too!