I have started reading the private writings of Mother Teresa of Calcutta elucidating her "spiritual darkness" she endured for close to fifty years.
There is a great amount of will that goes into achieving great things for God. The directions are clear enough: follow the commandments. become like a little one. give all to the poor. take up your cross. like the so called "american dream," sainthood is an invitation extended (and encouraged) to all. There is nothing preventing anyone from being great for God except themselves. Loving is an act of the will and in our complete freedom we are free to exercise it as we want.
The only constriction on this is sin, and that itself is encouraged and cultured in our personal lives; the accumulating darkness is welcomed on our behalf by what we commit in darkness. When we sow sin, we reap sin. If we sow love, we reap love. Our outwards lives are a direct reflection of the work we have put into them, what we have chosen, i.e., Sin and Death, or Love and Life.
I will never be a star athlete. I will never be the president of a company or a great scientist or rich or famous. Perhaps the 'power of positive intention' people will disagree that these things are beyond my grasp. Whether they are or not is moot to me. What I want is to dwell in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life, for "one day in your courts is better than a thousand spent elsewhere."
Many things prevent me from becoming a star athlete, or a president, or a rich man. But nothing prevents me from being a saint except myself. The formula is easy: God wills us to be with Him. God gives us everything we need to do so. I have complete freedom to choose to sin or not, but this is impossible without grace. God gives us everything we need to make this happen...nothing can be achieved without this grace but it is not denied to anyone. Sin separates us from God. I choose sin over God day after day. There is nothing preventing me from being a saint, from doing great things for God, except myself. The flesh may be weak but it is not completely compromised so as to be immune to the exercise of the will. This is why sloth and gluttony are sins: they sow laziness in choosing to do the work of the Lord, attacking from the inside, our disposition.
Working out is hard for a reason. I don't like working out because it is hard. But if you want to become strong you have to do the work. My sloth, gluttony, laziness is an embarrassment. Sin is like candy...it is easy to keep eating it, for it does not fill up and it is always sweet. I hope to diet to make my insides like my outside, to take responsibility for my salvation, to eschew cheap grace, and to work towards the only thing worth anything in this life: becoming a servant unto the Lord.