Showing Up

October 27, 2015

One of the most frustrating things in the spiritual life can be our seeming lack of progress. We pray, we go to Mass, we confess, we read books—and yet we seem to have little to show for it. It is easy to get frustrated, to give up and to put our spiritual life on the backburner.

Here’s the thing—the spiritual life is a struggle. It is not the work of a day or a moment or a single decision. Yes, God can sometimes work miracles of conversion that change a soul in an instant. But for most of us, that is not how we make progress. We grow by showing up, day after day after day. We mature by never quitting, despite frequent falls, discouragement, darkness, or failure.

The most talented athletes did not achieve their skill overnight. They put in long hours and disciplined themselves until they were exhausted. And they can never stop doing so or they will lose everything they have gained. Likewise, we become spiritual athletes through diligent practice—by showing up and putting in the hard work. And we can never quit doing so.

A wise man once said that our efforts spiritually speaking are like so many zeros strung together. They don’t add up to anything. But then, when we least expect it, God adds a one in front of our countless zeros, making our pitiful efforts more valuable than we can imagine. Take confidence: Each rosary, each communion, each confession is bearing fruit, though it is often hidden from our eyes. By doing these things, we are tilling the soil of our soul so God can plant the seeds of true maturity.

In the spiritual life, there is no such thing as a waste of time. God sees our efforts and our goodwill. He loves us, and by grace he will help us reach the goal. So never tire. Never give up. Keep pressing on no matter how fruitless your labors seem. Show up day after day after day—and one day, God just might make you a saint.

Sam Guzman


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Reader Interactions


  1. Tyler says

    Thank you for this brief but encouraging article and for all of your efforts in maintaining The Catholic Gentleman while in your own struggle of ‘showing up.’

    • Jim H says

      Great response to a fantastic article. I think we all need to hear this from time to time. I’ll certainly save as a reminder.

  2. Pomeline says

    I needed the encourgament. Thank you. Is it weird that I love this blog so much even though I’m not a gentleman? #LadyReader I feel like I’m sneaking into the no girl’s treehouse meeting.

  3. Matt Stewart says

    you’re the man. thanks bro. also follows a similar theme of Fr. Mike Schmitz’s podcast released yesterday, which I highly recommend.

  4. F. Theresa Henderson says

    I am a 72-year-old grandmother of nine boys. I found your blog but I am not computer smart so I lost it. My guardian angel helped me find you again you help me with giving advice in this modern world to my grandsons. God bless you for your great work

  5. Joe Goodman says

    Great blog. Funny that this includes a picture of Jim Thorpe. Jim was a “Catholic” (or at least that was the faith assigned to him when he came to the Carlisle [PA] Indian School). In fact he was married – for the first time – here at Saint Patrick Church in Carlisle.

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