There’s something that most of us adults have in common: We’ve got a talent for pointing out what’s wrong with the world.
We write newspaper articles about it. We broadcast our grievances across the globe – on TV, radio, and the Internet. We stand around at parties and bemoan the politics of the day. We gather in groups and gossip about the problems and flaws of others. You can fill in examples from your life, too, right?
Remember when we were kids, and the world was absolutely amazing? Remember when we had grand aspirations to grow up and do big things? If we saw one hungry person, we’d ask, “Why are they hungry? Where’s their mom? Can I help them?” Many of us wanted to grow up and be superheroes!
Then we grew older, and dismissed the delusions of youth. Was it because we realized that the world “just doesn’t work that way”?
Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.
This is one of St. Catherine of Siena’s most famous quotes. She truly believed that every single person could change the world for the better. Was she delusional?
You might respond, “Well, maybe she wasn’t crazy, but she was special! She was a saint. I’m not on that level; most people aren’t.”
Catherine believed that an inestimable Fire could change the world. Her words call to mind Jesus’ own words in the Gospel: I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! (Luke 12:49)
In prayer, Catherine encountered the inestimable Fire—the triune God, who is Love.
Her famous quote means that you and I are meant to be that fire; the living image of God. You see, Christians profess a belief that is unfathomable by other faiths: when we are baptized, God actually comes to live within us.
It Just Isn’t Right!
In the New Testament, we learn that John the Baptist was baptizing people for the forgiveness of their sins.
When Jesus asked John to baptize him, John protested, thinking: I am not even worthy to unfasten your sandal strap! You want ME to baptize YOU?
At John’s response, God—who had humbled himself to become human, to be born in a stable, to be vulnerable and weak—looked him in the eyes and acknowledged that John was right.
Jesus answered him, Allow it now. (cf. Matthew 3:13-15).
Jesus the God-Man, had the divine vision to see beyond a human—or more accurately, a fallen—concept of justice.
In our eyes, none of this makes sense: God is perfectly just, and yet he humbled himself to be baptized by a human being. God is Almighty, and yet, he chose to submit himself to human beings. Yet, God cannot act unjustly; so true justice must somehow be beyond our comprehension.
What if we saw with God’s eyes?
When most of us “grew up” and decided that being a superhero was no longer possible, it was because we had allowed our concept of what is possible to be shaped and limited by a world that suffers from sin. We had each lived through disappointments, wounds, struggles, and those all had consequences. In the face of pain, it’s natural to shift our focus onto what’s wrong with things.
But what if, instead, we turn our focus to God? What if we remain open to the marvels possible through Love?
You and I may look at Jesus and protest, “This is not right.” We may approach him, carrying all our burdens, and say, “I am not worthy, Lord.”
But Jesus will tell us, “Allow it now.”
Man is made to live in communion with God in whom he finds happiness. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 45)
Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire. Allow the unfathomable God to live within you. You will be the fullest version of “you” that you were ever meant to be. You will set an inestimable Fire into view for each person who encounters you, and Love will renew the face of the earth.
Will we dare to believe the unfathomable?
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.
Angela Sealana is Media Coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope, having served at the apostolate for nearly 10 years. She also serves on the PCH Speaker Team.