God’s road map to holiness

By Vinal Van Benthem | February 19, 2014

“Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.” If last week’s readings gave us a road map (the commandments), this week’s readings seem to tell us where the road map is meant to lead us. 

Recently a friend read “Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust,” by Immaculée Ilibagiza. It’s the story of how a young Rwandan woman found it in her heart to forgive the people who had murdered her parents and all but one of her siblings. Reading the book prompted a turning point for my friend. Estranged from his sister for 10 years following the death of their father and all of the legal hassles that too often afflict families after a parent dies, he decided that if this woman could forgive the unimaginable horrors that had been inflicted on her he needed to forgive his sister. So he did some online searching. He found his sister living in another state and sent her a note telling her that he would like to let the past rest and start to rebuild their relationship. She responded, and since that time, they’ve been communicating on a regular basis. Could letting go of old grudges be part of the road map to holiness?

Peg works in an office with two other women. Lately she’s noticed that conversation stops and the women become very quiet when she walks in. Other people in the company have hinted that they’ve heard through the grapevine that the two women Peg works with have been spreading rumors about her. Now Peg has to make a choice. Should she leave her job and nurture her anger and hurt or confront the women and try to talk through their differences? Which road will lead Peg to holiness? 

No one ever said that loving our enemies or praying for those who persecute us would be easy.  In fact, those roads led Jesus to the cross. But they also took him to resurrection and new life.  Do we have the courage to trust God’s road map in our own lives? Or would we rather not stop to ask for directions?

Van Benthem is a member of the Secular Franciscan Order and a longtime pastoral minister, retreat leader, spiritual director and published writer and poet.

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