“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interest of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
There are two things I often hear from people. The first is that they feel isolated in their faith walk, that in their family, workplace, peer group, or sometimes even their parish there are few people with whom they can openly share their faith. The second thing I hear a lot is that so many people are worried about family members who are far from God. They try everything to bring them to faith, but their words fall on deaf ears. They fear for the souls of these loved ones if they do not repent.
In fact, these two issues are closely related and the good news is that God, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, has got it all under control. Yes, dear child of the Father, God has a plan to bring those souls he loves more than you do, back to him. The enemy thinks he has won those souls, but God has a secret weapon. He has strategically placed his agents behind enemy lines. Those agents are none other than his faithful remnant–you and me.
Why do we feel isolated? Because we should! God has strategically placed us in the territory assigned to us. Think of a map with pins in it. The pins are spread out so that the most area may be covered with the resources available. Is it any wonder we feel like we are in the desert? Dear soldiers of Christ, not everyone can live near the well. Someone has to go out into the desert to show people how to get to the streams of living water.
God has not given up on our loved ones! God has given our loved ones the gift of OUR faith. And if he has called us to increased prayer and penance, he has given us invincible weapons with which to defeat the enemy. If we have also consecrated ourselves to his Mother, we are behind the velvet-lined shield that no enemy can penetrate. In addition, we are strengthened with the Bread of Life–Jesus himself! Our only weakness then is our sin, and the more we go to confession the more we will plug the holes in our armor caused by sin. This mission–the salvation of souls–is fraught with danger. But we must never be discouraged in our mission, for in Christ, we are assured that we have the victory.
What does victory in the Lord look like? How do we know that we are winning the battle? Well, we can safely assume that the sign of victory is not great glory in this life. It is the way of the cross that leads to victory, dying daily to self, surrendering each moment to the will of God. That is what victory in Christ looks like. That is how we will know we are winning souls for Christ. When we surrender in each moment to the will of God, we can be certain that he is using our every moment to further the kingdom, no matter what our senses tell us.
It is easy to be grateful for the gift of faith in our lives for our own sake, but do we remember to thank God for the gift that our faith is to others? Do we remember to pray a prayer of surrender to Jesus each day so that he might enlarge his territory and win more souls? You and I are pitiful little warriors, it is true, but in Christ, the mercy of God flows through us into the world, causing living water to flow over stony hearts making them soft and receptive to the love that is waiting for them in the heart of their Father. Onward Christian soldiers!