T.S. O'Rama in a most excellent post on his site, gives me an opportunity to spin a metaphor than may or may not work. We'll see.
A Baptist pastor continually preaches the following thing on the radio (I don't have a specifically Catholic radio station in tuning distance so I listen to the local Christian one):
"Christians have to spend more time remembering their position in Christ, not their condition."
In other words, focus on who you are - God's - and not your condition, which is often disconcertingly poor. It is interesting to this cradle Catholic that even Protestants have problems with legalism and "position vs. condition".
Now I want to show how incorrect the Baptist Pastor is in this saying. An object has energy by virtue either of movement of the body (kinetic energy), movement of its constiuent particles (thermal energy) or by its position and/or condition potential energy. It is this last that I want to use as a metaphor for the Christian life.
Too often we have great stored energy in Christian life. We make no harsh commitments, we don't drive ourselves too hard, and we don't really challenge ourselves in the things that matter. As Dubay and others have pointed out, the harsh reality is that We are not saints because we have not yet chosen to be. By that, all the writers mean that we have not made up our minds to let God's will be our will and to live our lives in that reality.
That is where potential is. We are all potential Saints. Thus we must move from potential to actual. And our potential is precisely in both our position in Christ and our condition in obeying God's word and will. If we are remiss in the latter, our position in Christ imparts some energy toward our sainthood--but we are like a loosely bound spring sitting on the ground. When we spring up, our motion is done, feeble and not enough to move us very far. However, if we change our condition, we may also change our position in Christ. Right now we wait on the ground near his feet. But as we obey we become like springs more tightly wound and compressed, and God lifts us up. From a height, when the tightly bound spring is released, the energy is much greater, the potential becomes powerful kinetic energy and we are suddenly transformed in Christ and become signs for all people. We are Saints.
Sainthood is possible for each one of us. Not only is it possible, it is necessary. Too often we excuse ourselves saying, we are not like St Therese, or St Teresa. But the reality is, God already made a St. Therese, he doesn't need another. He already has a St. Teresa, a St. John of the Cross, a St. Philip Neri, a St. Swithun--He has no need of more. But what He does need and what He wants is a Saint Steven Riddle, a Saint _______________ (put your name in the blank). We have no excuses for not responding to God's need. We are simply lazy people. We think that Heaven will come to us if we wait long enough.
Now, please bear in mind, though this was spawned by some thoughts at Mr. O'Rama's site, this is in no way a particular indictment of him. It is an indictment of every one of us (myself included) who has not yet made up their minds to be Saints and to tread whatever path God has laid out for us in that direction. I long for Sainthood, but I want it to be easy. It's time to change my position or my condition, because I'll need all the extra energy I can get from that stored potential to overcome the inertia that I allow to keep me in my deadly, ungodly path.