The Call to Holiness is Not a Burden But a Blessing

The Call to Holiness is Not a Burden But a Blessing

A reflection on the book El Camino de Santiago by EJ Aguila, CFC FFL Fulltime Worker. El Camino de Santiago is a book written by our Servant General, Frank Padilla.

The way of Saint James is his personal road to glory, call to holiness, and way of the cross. As I reflect on the book El Camino De Santiago and all the principle in it I was inspired by who St. James is and who he became. He became Holy, a servant and a warrior. It all started with a call.

Saint James is one of the fishermen who Jesus found in the Sea of Galilee. In his frustrations (burdens) in fishing during dawn, Jesus called him to be one of the first fishers of men (Apostles). He left his family and occupation to go with his brother John and the other first apostles. They followed Christ all the way. He eventually became part of the inner circle of Jesus. He was close to Him in the period of his ministry.

St. James had the privilege (blessing) of having an intimate relationship with Jesus, he witnessed miracles of Jesus firsthand and he learned from the master himself who chose to be a servant. He was blessed to learn from the way of Jesus Christ whom he followed. The feet that he used to follow the master was the same feet that Jesus washed to cleanse him for him to be pure so that he can come closer to the holiness of God. He showed him true servant leadership and prepared him for his commissioning (A Holy Warrior). He was part of the great upper room experience and was empowered by the Holy Spirit to go to the ends of the earth. The fishers of men was then blessed by the Holy Spirit and finally took the risk the go to the ends of the earth when he left his comfort zone. He was the one who went to the unknown corner of the earth (context: during the time of Jesus what they know is that the earth is flat and has four corners). Going back to his first call from fishermen to fishers of men. With the question why call a fisher men, what we learned before from a theology professor was that Jesus saw a potential in this fishermen. That they were courageous people because they were facing their fears in the sea (context: evil spirits dwell in the sea). He fearlessly carried his cross and evangelized by sharing the kerygma to that corner of the earth, which is now the modern day Spain. In my personal reflection I believe that he took the call as a blessing and not as a burden and he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to go to his great destination – Spain.  Like St. Paul, he was totally committed to the cause of Christ. “Yet I consider of no importance to me, if only I will finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the gospel of God’s grace.” St. James the Great is now the Patron Saint of Spain.

It is so significant that Spain Evangelized the Philippines 1521 and in a few years we will be celebrating the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines. Here we are being called to respond to the call to do new evangelization. The way of St. James is the way to Holiness, Road to Glory and Way of the Cross. St. James is holy, a servant and a warrior. May we all be guided by El Camino De Santiago. The road to glory may be long and tiring like the way of the cross but like St. James, may we see it not as a burden but a blessing – a  way to heaven.

The call to holiness is not a burden but a blessing. As we strive to be faithful, loving and righteous, we can hear our God say to us, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” (Mk 12:34b) – FAP