Last week, my former college roommate and her husband (and cute baby!) arrived on a visit from Canada. So, starting Friday evening, I barely touched my homework, and instead opted to party it up with my friends at Trinity Hall into the wee hours of the night/morning/whatever it was. Friday night was "Disney Friday," complete with The Aristocats and "Just Dance"(on the Kinect, which was exciting!) Saturday involved a dance party, becoming introduced to Promised Land milk (it is so amazing!!!!) and playing Legendary. Sunday included having people over for food and games, then heading to a birthday party at Trinity, with music, sugar, and Legendary: Villains. And in the mix of it all, I was reading Catholic Philosopher Chick Comes on Strong (I totally recommend this!!!! It's great!). So here I am, exhausted (getting out of bed 30ish minutes before my 10 a.m. class started today was a major struggle!), sore, but so full of joy and peace!
And as I sat with my husband in our Holy Hour yesterday, I was thinking about all of the blessings that God has dumped on us. Not only that, but the beautiful ways in which God sends reminders about walking in holiness through day-to-day activities.
It was with slight trepidation that I walked onto the floor to play “Just Dance.” After all, I’m horrible at those types of games. I always seem to be a few seconds behind everyone else and/or I’m going the opposite direction! Still, I love parties, I love dancing, and I love having fun. Furthermore, all of us were going to look like complete fools, so why not give it a whirl? I had a great time, and to my surprise, I even secured first place on two of the songs! But the placing wasn’t even a crazy big deal, because we were all focused on having fun and goofing off. We would all throw ourselves wholeheartedly into the song and dance; then, after the song ended, we all enjoyed watching the video recording, to see just how outrageous we looked!
A bunch of us college students had a blast spending a large part of the evening tying to mimic a dancing figure on the screen. Whatever the dancing figure did, we tried to do perfectly. We knew that we looked silly many times, but that did not keep us from having a wonderful time. I would even venture to say that because we all were looking ridiculous together, that built an extra sense of fellowship.
Later on, I began thinking about this experience: If I could get so enthusiastic about emulating the animated person (or fruit. Or animal) on the screen—not caring about how weird I looked—can’t I put that same vigor into imitating the saints (REAL people) and God (‘cause He’s GOD!) to attain holiness?
That’s a scary thought. I mean, “Just Dance” is a game. You have an evening where you play, look like a fool, and have fun—and then it’s over. But when you actually try to imitate God and the saints, there are more lasting effects. Some of which may be very painful. In fact, one of my favorite mysteries of the Rosary is the Crowning of Thorns—especially because the fruit of the mystery is courage, something which I greatly lack and desperately need.
But wouldn't it just be epic if we all took this Lent to try and imitate God, living out His will in our lives? And just like my friends and I would laugh and watch the videos of us dancing, we’ll all get to look back and laugh with joy at how God worked in our lives for the sanctification of all people! Yes, we may look ridiculous in this dance towards sanctity and holiness. There are plenty of saints (for example, St. Bernadette) who looked outrageous to the world while they were following the will of God. One of the best books I’ve read in the past couple months was Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and Network of Miracles, by Raymond Arroyo. This book includes an awesome quotation from Mother Angelica, a spirited woman who did God’s will no matter how crazy she looked (like starting a television network, though she knew nothing about that sort of thing):
"Unless you are willing to do the ridiculous, God will not do the miraculous…When you have God, you don't have to know everything about it; you just do it." ~Mother Angelica
Standing out from the crowd can seem scary. Even something as simple as praying Grace Before Meals while in public areas. Or something more intense, like refusing to partake in immoral entertainment or behavior while at a party. Ask God to give you the courage to step out and be willing to look ridiculous for Him. Let’s focus on how well we’re imitating God instead of worrying about how others may judge us if we witness to the Faith in public. Let’s just dance towards sanctity, following the movements of the Holy Spirit and God’s directives in our lives.
“I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect." ~Romans 12:1-2