“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” ~ Francis of Assisi
So many times we look at the great saints and we say to ourselves, “I could never do that!” Do you know what? THEY probably said the same thing in their time as well. What might differentiate us from them, though? They went about and did it while we just thought “I could never do that.” Our incredulity often keeps us from doing what must be done.
Mother Teresa might respond to our fear of doing by her statement, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” Think about it. Are we ever going to be able to feed all the people suffering from starvation and poverty in the world? No. We are not. Should we let that knowledge keep us from feeding the one starving person in our midst, though? It shouldn’t. We should see the need of that one starving person and supply that starving person’s need.
If we fed one starving person and someone fed another starving person and millions of other people fed millions of other starving people, all the starving might just be fed. We do not have to start big. We just need to start. We need to reach out to that one individual and move on from there.
St. Francis accomplished the same thing when he confronted one of his worst fears. He knew that he was being called to serve the poor, the needy, and the downtrodden. One of the groups of people filled him with revulsion and dread, however: lepers. He knew that he had to do something about that if he was going to be a servant of Jesus. One day, when he approached a leper on the road begging for aid, Francis did what Francis had always feared most: he approached the leper and embraced him. The moment he hugged the leper, his revulsion and fear left him and he was filled with joy.
We are not going to feed all the starving of the world. But we can feed one person. We are not going to be able to check in on all the shut-ins in the world. But we can check in on one person. We are not going to be able to encourage all those who have low self-esteem. But we may know one person who has it and reach out to that one person. One by one, step by step. That is the way to holiness. We are not going to become a saint overnight. But we can begin the path to sanctify by that first step, that first kind word, that first action.
Don’t let “the impossible” stop you from beginning today.
FAITH ACTION: Whatever you have decided to do — praying more often, doing works of mercy, thanking a person — start today!