The lives of the Saints are filled with stories of penance, sacrifice, great deeds and the like. You may think, while reading about them, that those deeds are what their lives are about, but you would be totally wrong. When I read about the life of St. Francis (or any other Saint for that matter) I see a passionate love story between a man and His God. Sleeping on the floor, fasting, waking up early, and even more extreme acts of mortification are nothing if they are not done for love. St. Francis is the perfect example of this point. Francis was head over heels in Love with God. His extreme acts of mortification weren’t performed as some sort of proof of His love but he waged war on His body and His will, ridding himself of anything coming between him and God. Love should be the sole motivation of our whole life. We need to look at our prayer as communication with a lover. We should see our penance as preparing ourselves to give more fully. All for love. God is a jealous lover and He wants ALL of us. There is no room for sin and selfishness. He wants to fill us with Himself. Our love for Him should motivate us to make room for Him. Let us mortify ourselves, let us fast, let us do great deeds but only for love.
I the Lord your God am a jealous God. Exodus 20:5
I am my beloved’s and He is mine. Song of Songs 2:16
Dave VanVickle is a Catholic speaker and writer focusing on the Universal Call to Holiness and Authentic Catholic Spirituality. He is currently employed as the Director of Evangelization for the parishes of the Catholic Community of Wexford, PA.