When I was a kid, my grandparents lived in a small two-bedroom house on a farm, seemingly miles away from the closest neighbor. They had a dog, a black mutt that had a white stripe around the top of his neck that looked like a permanent collar. His name was Major. When we went fishing, he would run after our pickup truck, and we would leave the tailgate down so he could jump in.
He was a wild dog. Sometimes, he would disappear for days. I worried about him, but grandpa said he would always come back. When he got tired of wandering around, or when he got hungry enough he would be back.
St. Jose Maria Escriva once said, “Human life is in some way a constant returning to our Father’s house.” I believe this must be the case. There was a time in my youth when I thought that one day I would wake up and all my efforts to battle the self would be won. I would have mastered myself and the urge to roam or to seek out other wild dogs of the night would be vanquished. I would wake up and be able to serve others from an untouchable good mood of generosity and wisdom.
But unfortunately, that is not the case. Battles are never won permanently. Some of them have to be fought over and over again. And we never stop roaming. We never stop leaving the Father’s house and seeking things of the earth or the flesh.
We will never be perfected on this earth–at least I know I won’t–but it’s nice to know that the Father’s house is still there and His door is always open. It has no locks on the door. We are free to come and go as we please. And that is Major good news.