Our propensity to be dismissive when it comes to even the suggestion that we live more deeply and give ourselves to the Lord more completely is well understood. And so, Fr. Dubay anticipates our questions in the face of this call to greater commitment: “Is a book which professes to deal with a radical frugality meant only for the person who has a vocation to monastery or convent? And if it is meant for the laymen, would they not be the eccentrics on the fringes of society?” (p. 12, HAYP). How true it is that we tend to convince ourselves that there is, somehow, two Gospel messages — one for “them” and one for me.
Our Lady encourages us to stand up and be counted … count yourself among his precious children; his precious anawim. Fr. Dubay notes: “There are many persons, young, middle aged, and elderly, who are yearning for the undiluted message of Christ. They do not want it to be exaggerated, and yet they seek the radical word and wish to live it in their lives … The greatest of all commandments, that we love God with our whole heart, whole soul, and whole mind, is by definition a totality commitment, and it is directed to all classes of people with out exception” (p. 13, HAYP).
One of the first great challenges for all of us comes from years of being coddled into a lukewarm version of Christian discipleship. Years of cotton candy homilies (a lot of sugar and hot air), casual liturgies and diluted formation have left us quite uninspired and is at the root of much dissent and heresy, not to mention a real lack of the sense of the sacred. This more secularized version of Catholicism has become so widespread that one feels that a return to more of the sacred and a greater commitment as Christian disciples is like trying to get the toothpaste back in the tube … yet, “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:36).
The return is already occurring all around us as many are being led to embrace this evangelical poverty. And, as Fr. Dubay points out, “because it is a negation in itself, it is not sought for its own sake but for what it makes possible and much easier to attain: a radical readiness, a sensitivity to what Jesus is about, a sharing with the needy, an apostolic credibility, a pilgrim witness in a world of dwindling resources. These are values, precious values, to our laity as well as to clergy and religious” (p. 14, HAYP).
The return will abound as more are converted from that horrific original sin of intellectual pride (eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil so we can become our own gods) to the sweet submissiveness of a poor, unwed teenage girl who was brave enough to say, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).