We recently celebrated the feast day of St. Ignatius Loyola, the soldier who went on to found a great Religious Congregation; the Society of Jesus. During a long convalescence, St. Ignatius began to read the lives of saints and these stories of the saints ignited in the young soldier a burning desire to do something great for God in his own life.

There was something about the saints willingness to take great risks, and their complete abandonment to God, that marked a turning point in how Ignatius saw his own life. It is a very good practice to read the lives of the saints. In the lives of the saints we see how God works in every age and generation to call men and women to outstanding holiness.

In the life of each saint there is a key moment, or several key moments of decision, and in such moments the saints make a radical commitment, a leap of faith, and put all their trust in God.

No doubt many of these saints’ contemporaries considered them foolish or imprudent. No doubt these same saints struggled at times with doubts about the course of their own lives. But there was no turning back. It is particularly difficult in our western society to make a radical commitment, like those of the saints.

Whether to marriage, Religious Life, or priesthood, a radical, life-long commitment is especially hard and men and women tend to put it off for as long as possible, perhaps until it is too late.

The writer Boris Pasternack once wrote: ‘Man is born to live; not to prepare for life’. God wants us to live, to choose, not merely to prepare for some life in the distant future. In a similar vein St. John Paul II wrote: ‘You cannot live on probation, you cannot die on probation, you cannot love on probation’.

The whole tone of the Gospel is one of urgency, of choosing and following. Reading the lives of the saints reminds us of what is possible if, and only if, one makes a radical commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our lives are not a preparation for life, they are happening now! We are not on probation or a trial run; this is my life, today!

Of course it takes courage to choose today, when the whole mood of our society is to keep all options open for as long as possible. But let us pray for the courage to live our lives today, to invest our lives today, not always waiting for some unknown date in the future.

Why wait if the Lord is calling? In this the saints are our best examples and teachers.

If you are interested in the Franciscan way of life please contact:

Friar Liam Kelly OFM
Phone:  087 396 0262 
Postal address: Franciscan Friary, The Abbey, Francis Street, Galway Cit