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Staying Straight

The English poet Alexander Pope once wrote: "As the twig is bent, so grows the tree". When a new sapling is coming up, people will often place a stake next to it and tie them together. This is to help the sapling to grow straight and tall. Yes, it will grow upright on its own, but not all "upright" is as straight as the grower wants. Plus, all types of weird twists and bends can occur if the young tree is not guided correctly into becoming a straight old tree.

The same is true for people, especially children. If children are left to themselves, they will not grow properly straight and tall. Yes, they will "grow up", but that is not the same thing as being straight and tall. Even as adults we need those "stakes" to keep us on the right path, to make sure we do not become "crooked". We may want to resist the "stake" that God puts on our lives, and many today openly reject the "stake" that the Church offers us, but down deep we know where that leads. Those who follow that path do not find Heaven.

All of the Church's rules act like the stake does for the tree. Let us not seek to rationalize or justify our disobedience (i.e. resistance to the stake) and make excuses. Yes, it is difficult to obey God at times. Yet, compromise and self-justification are not the path of holiness. If the Church tells us to do something, we should do everything in our power to accomplish it, and then make sure that we ask God to help. He knows we need those "stakes" in our lives, and He is always willing to help us to stay tied to them.


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