“If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them.“ ~ C.S. Lewis
Pope Francis has fascinated millions over the years. His thoughts are widely disseminated and there are many who question what he says. Perhaps it is because of the perspective from which he speaks. He shared one particular perspective when he addressed the clergy of the Church at a Chrism Mass, reminding them that priests should be “shepherds living with the smell of the sheep.” In other words, get in among the people, work with the people, know their need, their fear, their want, their sadness, and their joy.
It is only in “jumping in” that we truly can be immersed into anything. Language programs have shown that over and over again. There is quite one thing to signing up for a language course and going to school to study it, another to pick up a computer program that can practice with a person as that person learns the language, and a third alternative called immersive learning. In that third option, a person goes to a country and is completely immersed in the language. The one who is immersed generally picks things up much more quickly because that person is living the language.
How often do we talk about getting closer to God? How often do we talk about doing more scripture study. How often do we acknowledge that we should be doing more in the practice of our faith? You know what they say: talk is cheap. Today, we are reminded that we should be doing more than talking. We should do as much as possible to draw closer to God.
In order to “stand in the fire or get into the water”, we need to immerse ourselves into the faith. We need to go to Mass as regularly as possible. That includes a healthy attendance at weekday Mass as well. We need to volunteer our time in charitable causes. We need to increase the amount of time we spend in prayer. Additionally, we need to study what the corporal and spiritual works of mercy are all about and employ them in our lives on a daily basis.
Pope Francis spoke about his priests taking on the smell of the sheep. If we do all that we can to draw closer to God, we will take on the odor of sanctity.
FAITH ACTION: If being near to God is your goal, do not just talk about it today. Do it.