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Tony Rossi

Radio Host/Producer

God Wants People Who Admit Their Own Frailty
May 24, 2015

Over the past few years, five-time Grammy nominee Matt Maher has been reflecting on his own future as well as the future of the Church he loves. Looking at the social issues prevalent in modern culture, he noted that “politics has poisoned, in some ways, people’s day-to-day life, especially on the Internet.” He wondered how to navigate these troubled waters, and finally found the answers in the saints.

During an interview on “Christopher Closeup,” Maher explained, “The saints…somehow found a way to stand for God, to stand for the Church, but also to love tremendously and love fiercely. In doing that, they elevated the conversation. That’s what I feel needs to happen. We need a lot of young men and women to respond to the call of God—to not get bogged down in a lot of the arguments that are happening, [but instead] focus our eyes back on Jesus and be amazing examples that can help re-elevate the conversation.”

Maher’s latest album, “Saints and Sinners,” helps listeners do just that by providing music that connects with your spirit and lyrics that engage your mind and heart. He realizes that the saints have an image problem because the reality of their lives has often been whitewashed. When people believe that the saints never did anything wrong or never struggled with darkness, their expectations of religious leaders and others who call themselves “Christian” become skewed.

For instance, one of the album’s songs, “Firelight,” was inspired by Mother Teresa’s struggle with darkness that was revealed from her personal letters in the book “Come Be My Light.” Maher was surprised that this was treated as a scandal by many news outlets. He said, “Any human being who takes on vows of poverty, chastity and obedience—that’s a tremendous witness and sacrifice. Then [she] decides to start her own order, another huge act of sacrifice. Then, this brave woman goes to the poorest place on the planet and literally helps people die with dignity. I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t struggle with finding the presence of God.”

Instead of turning people away from the faith, Maher believes Mother Teresa’s witness could draw them to the Church: “I feel like we could do a whole ad campaign for vocations around [her struggles] and say, ‘This is who God’s looking for. God’s looking for people who don’t have all the answers. God’s looking for people who are willing to admit their own frailty.’”

Maher also found wisdom in the life of St. Therese of Lisieux who, by worldly standards, didn’t accomplish much in her short life. Yet on her deathbed, she spoke the words “Everything is a grace,” signifying that even the most humble life is accomplishing something good in God’s eyes. 

Maher wrote a song inspired by that idea. He concluded, “The enemy has taken most of the Church and turned them from prophets into a bunch of complainers—myself included. We spend more time complaining about life than prophesying the love and grace of God over it. So Therese, to me, was such a profound example for young people who feel tempted to complain of an insignificant life because she found great significance. In fact, a lot of those valleys that we walk through can become profound places of transformation where we’re actually brought closer to God and we reach a point of surrender, of saying, ‘Everything is grace.’ There is an opportunity in everything to receive grace for the journey—and to receive grace to love people no matter how difficult things may seem.”

 

 

For a free copy of the Christopher News Note, LISTENING WHEN GOD SPEAKS, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or e-mail: mail@christophers.org