One of my favorite hobbies is reading epic fantasy novels. The first one I was introduced to was J. R. R. Tolkien’s Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series, followed by Terry Brooks’ Shannara series. When I graduated from high school someone gave me C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia (not the Disney version). There have been dragon series, mage series, and several which reach into earth’s far distant future or ancient past.
What intrigues me most about these books is the character development. Some authors are better than others, but each takes the time to share the best and worst attributes of the characters as they prepare for the war, trial, achievement, or success that the author leads us to. Sometimes I find myself despising the hero or heroine, cheering for them, weeping with them, and laughing at them as they struggle with what it means to take on the task that only they can hope to successfully complete.
I think what resonates with me most is the way that characters are transformed by what happens on their journeys. Most seek a way to battle enemies and barriers that they face on their journeys. At the same time, there is an internal conflict that is shared with the reader about the person’s doubts, flaws, and struggles to be the person they need to be to fulfill their destiny or goal. And I never tire of the different ways the authors get me to do my own soul searching through the many men, women, elves, and magicians who seek to be the change agents in and for their worlds.
Our journey of faith has a destination. We are moving on to perfection. God is the author of who we are and one day who we will become. We seek to live a life of sanctifying grace, knowing all that we do deepens our relationship with our Creator. We want to become more like Jesus in our every thought, word, and deed.
How often do we reflect on our life story? In what ways have we grown closer to our Lord? Which parts of our lives are still a work in progress? Is it easy for us to find ways to reach out to others or do we struggle with what to do and how to begin? Or, are we busy doing so many things that many seeds have been planted, but few have been able to take root and grow.
Have we chronicled our struggles and trials or our accomplishment and successes? Have we taken the time to see how far we’ve come, while simultaneously acknowledging that we still have a long way to go?
We are being shaped to be a vital part of God’s creation. Our Lord’s plan for the salvation and redemption of the world includes each of us being transformed and transforming others to love God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strength. We are called to love our neighbors. May each opportunity to serve, to love, and to learn help to make us more like Jesus each day. And Amen.