If there is one thing I do not want to be called it is a ‘white-washed tomb.’ ‘What is that?’ I hear you ask. Think about it for a moment in the context of our reflections over the last couple of days and I am sure you will discover the answer for yourself. Just in case, it is a hypocrite. Why? Well, think of the contrast of the inside of a tomb (rotting and decaying flesh and bones) and the look exteriorly of a pure white and fresh coat of paint. Ahh, you have the image now!

 

The white exterior correponds to the looks of a life of virtue and the inside fo the tomb to exactly the opposite. It is within our own power and our own power alone to determine which it is that we are! This truth is at the heart of a virtuous life in that the individual alone makes the decisions regarding the degree he or she pursues the life of virtue. Yes, the grace of God makes it possible to do so, however, without the decision of the individual (albeit aided by grace), it is impossible for God’s grace to do anything to bring about holiness in the life of an individual. This argument was perfectly outlined in the scholastic doctrine of grace building upon nature, namely that if there is nothing there for the grace of God to work with, that is no decision on the part of the individual, then no amount of grace will be able to achieve anything.

 

The life of virtue has a particularly human and individual element to it. This is why it is important for us to familiarize ourselves with as many different examples of how men and women open up their lives to the grace of God as possible. This is why I still believe that the most important formative event(s) of my life was my dad reflecting with me on a regular basis for the duration of a year, on the life of the saint of the day when I was about eight years old. Ultimatley I think I owe my vocation to this practice, and by the way, I still read the lives of the saints today whenever I can lay my hands on them.

 

Jesus, a life of virtue is difficult to live; I need all the help I can get. Send your Holy Spirit to help me in choosing the right literature to read so that I will be inspired to live as holy and virtuous life as possible.