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Sanctuary

We have a very special place where we meet God. Some call that place "the Soul"; others, "Conscience"; Saint John Paul II referred to it as the Sanctuary. It is really all of the above. For most people, it is a place of mystery, a place least understood, and people do not dwell on it too much because of the pressures of life. Perhaps only mystics think about these things. We ought to at least be aware of our "Inner Sanctum"— that place where we go only to meet God. We go there alone.

"Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man's most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths." (Art. 1776, CCC)

In this deepest part of our Sanctuary, we yearn for what is good. Yet it is the human person who must decide between good and evil. In that way, God has given us "free will" and as many have experienced, sometimes this free will presents us with difficult choices, because people are "only human", as some will say. "Only human" seems to imply that people are prone to fall into sin. Only human means not perfect. If we listen to that voice of God deep within us, we'll begin to realize that "only human" doesn't hold up as an excuse for weakness. Nevertheless, we carry around with us the results of Original Sin, and this has weakened us. We can and should try to overcome sin. With God's help, we can. People we know as great Saints have tried to overcome sin but it was a daily struggle. St. Augustine struggled as his writings proved out, but he fought a valiant fight because when he failed, he asked God to forgive him, and he tried again. Daily conversion - that is what we need in order to turn back to God!

Daily conversion is an attempt to strive to better ourselves. Daily conversion - that is what we need in order to turn back to God! When to turn back to God? All the time. Daily! The struggle does not end Jesus talks to us every day. If we do not hear Him, listen harder. Shut out meaningless thoughts that get us off-track. Franciscans and other people committed to the Lord, know that in order stay close to Jesus, they've got to seek Him every minute of the day.

"Children, love must not be a matter of theory or talk, it must be true love which shows itself in action." (1 John 3:18) In other words, do it, rather than just talk about it. Follow the example of that great man, St. Francis of Assisi, he lived the life [of a Franciscan] - he didn't just talk about it. He lived it by example rather than many words.

Fred Schaeffer, ofs
June 20, 2014


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