Imagine a map of the world; now imagine a point on that map, a particular place. And now, try to imagine all the people on the earth, each of them trying to reach that one point. Think how many paths there are, each beginning at a particular point, a different place for each one, but all heading in the same direction. Every path is different and unique.
Now that you have imagined all this, think about the ‘universal call to holiness’ which was described a number of times at the Second Vatican Council. In essence, this was a reminder that every single one of us is called by the Lord to live the life of a saint here upon earth. And if we are so called, then it is certainly possible to answer that call and to walk our path. The Lord does not ask the impossible of us; and whatever He asks of us, He will provide the necessary graces in order that we might achieve it.
If you think back to the map and the many paths leading to that one single place, then you have a visualisation of this universal call to holiness. The single point is true sanctity; the many paths are the roads we must walk to reach it; and each one begins where we presently find ourselves.
You ask where your own path is? It is right here where you are, right now at this very moment. You are upon it already.
A temptation here is to think we cannot walk that path, that it is beyond our abilities – and this is true, as we cannot achieve it alone. But we are not alone – we have the Lord, who calls us and bids us come to Him; remember those divine graces – they provide all we need in order to reach Him successfully.
A second temptation is to look not at our own path, but at the paths of others around us, and to wish we were walking their path rather than our own. And yet the Lord places us precisely upon our own path – this has all that we need to become holy. But we need to recognise the opportunites for sanctity and make full use of every one of them.
Looking at the Saints of the Church, we might notice that they all led very differeing lives; some were missionaries, others were housewives; some were priests and bishops, others were simple farmers or lay people; some were very holy from childhood, others were great sinners who had to fight continuously to become holy; some did very great things, others did very small things but in a great way. So it is with each of us. Our own personal path, prepared for us by the Lord, is everything we need in order to reach Him.
Trying to walk that path, to answer that universal call to holiness, we have the assurance that the Lord is with us always, and we can rely on the maternal intercession of the Mother of God and of all the Saints already in Heaven.
Now, all we need to do is to begin to walk.