The spiritual life, almost by definition, isn’t easy. Today’s readings prove it. In our first reading, Jacob wrestles with “some man,” who turns out to be God himself. They tussle all day long and finally declare a draw, but the battle leaves poor Jacob limping from the fight. In the end though, he receives a blessing. And that’s the way it is, brothers and sisters, that’s how the spiritual life works. We often wrestle with God, or with something he’s asking of us, and occasionally the battle marks us or scars us, but we always end up blessed by the experience. That is, of course, if we are ready to do battle for the long haul.
The spiritual life is a long battle: a marathon, and not a sprint. You have to identify what you’re wrestling with: maybe it’s a call to change your life in some way or take on some new thing. Maybe it’s a prayer life that is a little stale. Or maybe even an urge to move in a different direction in your vocation or your career, or even in a relationship. It’s a struggle, and it could well involve considerable wrestling until you know what’s really at stake. But when you identify it, you have to stay with it, wrestle all day and night, until you receive the blessing.
Every saint has wrestled in some way at some point in their lives. That’s how they became saints. It’s difficult, it’s scary, and it definitely needs to be surrounded with prayer. Only then can you stay with it, bear its marks, and receive God’s blessings.