With a lot of practice, training and talent, someone can make a very difficult skill look easy — at least until you try to do it yourself.
This topic came up last week in karate class when we were discussing the time when someone who had been training in martial arts for a few years asked our sensei (teacher) Andy Moyer to show her how to do a kata, a form that is the essence of Goju-ryu karate, that she had just seen him perform flawlessly. He could not because she did not have enough skills.
One of my fellow students pointed out that when someone as skilled as Moyer demonstrates the results of untold hours over many years of training, he makes it look so easy that others believe they can also do it. They can’t.
The same type of situation can be seen when we meet up with truly good and holy people or read about the lives of canonized saints. Their faith, hope, charity, humility, gentleness, kindness, peace, self-control, etc., make us want to try to emulate them. They make living that way look easy.
However, we don’t realize all the effort that went into making them into that type of person. It is true that many people are naturally good from earliest childhood until their final time on Earth many years later. However, it is also true that they perfected themselves through countless prayers and much self-sacrifice.
It is also true that some of the greatest saints did not start off as very nice people, whether because of a difficult family life or a natural disposition. However, they were able to grow in holiness through much prayer and effort.
Becoming a person who truly loves God and others requires a lifetime of faithful prayer and the good works that come from that faith. It helps to keep in mind we are all called to holiness. We probably won’t attain sainthood and we don’t have to be holier than others. We just have to be closer to God than we were the previous day.
Holiness is our life’s work.