Monday, November 30, 2015

Saint Andrew and "Being Compared to Others"

Today is the Feast day of St. Andrew, the brother of St. Peter.


I would assume that a time or two after the Resurrection of our Lord, St. Andrew may have gone home to visit family.  He surely got asked the question a lot walking around Jerusalem in the early days of the Church -

"Hey, aren't you Andrew, Peter's brother?"

or

"Hey, isn't your brother the Pope?  He's awesome!  I love your brother?"


And people from Andrew's churches that he founded probably asked him, when they wanted to try to manipulate him or get under his skin or play one of the millions of other mind games we humans play with each other:

"Why can't you be more like your brother, THE POPE!?!?!?"




Here's the deal.  We all live in people's shadows, and we all cast our own shadows that other people live in.


In working with a lot of people as a priest, whether spiritual direction, confession, or just talking with them about their struggles in general, I can safely say that A LOT OF PEOPLE STRUGGLE WITH THIS SHADOW THING.


And here's how you get over it - STOP CARING ABOUT IT


People will try to heap expectations on us.

"Why can't you be more like your mom?  Why can't you be more like your dad?  Why can't you be more like your roommate?  Why can't you be more like your coworker?  Why can't you be more like your sister?"


You know how long their heaping of expectations on you will work to get you down?  Precisely as long as you allow it to.


WHO CARES WHAT OTHERS EXPECT OF YOU?


The only expectations that matter are the expectations that Christ has of us - the expectation that we be a saint.  And we all can become saints if we listen to Christ's call inside us and follow Him wherever He leads and do whatever He asks us to do.  That's all that matters.  St. Andrew knew that.  That's why he's a SAINT.

St. Andrew didn't worry about what others wanted him to be.  He worried about what CHRIST wanted him to be.


Andrew surely got to the point where he said "Yep, that's my brother, the first Pope, and he's awesome and I'm really proud of him and I love him dearly."

If he didn't get to that point, then he wouldn't have been a saint.  He'd still be miserable and whining.


Who cares about the "shadows" that others cast.  Be yourself.  Be who God made you to be.


Be a saint.  Period.



"It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till." - J.R.R. Tolkien