Dec. 17, 2017 - 3rd Sunday of Advent, Year B
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
How do I know if I’ve got my life on the right track? We try to do what is right. We try to lead good lives. We try to be more loving and more forgiving. We try to live with honor and integrity.
But we fail a lot. And sometimes we want some assurance that at least we are walking down the right road. Yes? Yes.
Saint Paul gives us a simple little spiritual exercise to use to see if we are headed in the right direction. He says, “Test everything. Retain what is good.”
We can use this little exercise in almost every situation in our lives to see if we’ve got ourselves on the right path, to see if we are on the right track, an assurance that we are headed in the right direction.
To test everything we simply have to ask ourselves some self-reflective questions like these:
Does this activity help me become a better person? Does this way of thinking help me grow in my relationship with God?
Does this way of behaving help me grow in love for my spouse or my children are my family? Does this activity or hobby help me grow as a person?
An example: does talking about my neighbor with others help me grow as a person? Does talking about my neighbor with others help my neighbor grow as a person? Does talking about my neighbor with others help me get along better with or grow closer to my neighbor?
If my answer to any of these questions is no, then this is a signal to me that I’m not on the right path. But if the answer is yes, if I’m saying good and positive things about my neighbor to others, then this is a signal to me that I’m on the right path.
We can use this little spiritual exercise in almost any aspect of our lives. Is this helping me to become more generous? Is this helping me to be more kind? Is this helping me forgive? Is this helping me prepare for the coming of the Lord? Is this helping me grow in faith and hope and love?
If we would use this simple spiritual exercise every day of our lives, we would quickly see a dramatic shift. And we would certainly be following John the Baptist’s command, “Make straight the way of the Lord.”
The changes we would begin to see in our lives would allow us to echo those beautiful words of Saint Paul from our second reading, “Rejoice always. In all circumstances give thanks.”
The one who calls us is faithful and can accomplish this in us, with just a little bit of our help.
We really do want to lead good and holy lives. And we want some assurances that we are heading in the right direction. Test everything. Retain what is good.