By Alyssa Bormes
“Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations
that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”
~ Luke 21:36
What certain and firm words! This verse is found in Luke’s Gospel, reminding us to always be prepared for the coming of Christ, to live a life of readiness. The words sound great, but are they attainable?
An Amazing Witness of Faith
God is so good to give amazing witnesses. One of my favorite evangelists is His Excellency, Bishop Paul Dudley. We met on my confirmation day in the late 1970s. He was the bishop of my archdioceses in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. There was a friendship that began on that day, but it wasn’t until the late 90s that I understood its importance.
I was lost and so I sought out His Excellency. He was ready; he had lived a life of vigilance. He had strength in the face of my having none. Worldly tribulations were a way of life for me, which had a hold of my soul. There was only one real escape from them, and it was through confession.
The Hard Work of Forgiving Ourselves
After giving absolution, he said to me, “Alyssa, imagine the rejoicing in heaven today for one sinner coming home!” And later he said to me, “Alyssa, God has forgiven you. Now, go home, and do the hard work of forgiving yourself.”
These two things have seen me through many dark days—always leading to the Light.
How was Bishop Dudley so able to lead me? It was his vigilance! He was ready at any moment to meet His Maker—to stand before the Son of Man. He had the strength to withstand the tribulations the world handed him, all the while being faithful to the Church and Her teachings.
When thinking of Bishop Dudley, peace and joy flood my heart. He led me home to the Light of Christ. His example was always one of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. The day he received my confession was a meeting with Jesus Christ.
Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving — Not Just for Lent
Confession is a place to meet Jesus sacramentally before meeting Him at our judgment. Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving focus our souls to only desire the Messiah and not the distractions of this world. For my dear Bishop Dudley, this was a way of life.
Today, we can make the choice to become vigilant for the first time, or more deeply again, so that we may “have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”
QUESTION TO PONDER
In what way can you today make the choice to be vigilant in your walk of faith?
How can you practice prayer, fasting, and almsgiving apart from Lent and Advent?
Today’s article first appeared on From The Vine, November 29, 2015.
Alyssa Bormes is an educator, author, speaker, and retreat leader. She currently teaches at the Chesterton Academy in Edina, Minnesota, writes for the Catholic Spirit, and the W.I.N.E blog, is the host of a weekly show,“Christian Witnesses in the Church,” on Radio Maria US, and is the author of The Catechism of Hockey. You can find her at alyssabormes.com.
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