Last night I went to the cinema to see a film called “King Richard”. It was the life story of the tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams.

Now the amazing and extraordinary thing about this story is how the Dad, Richard, was their trainer, manager and father.

Against all odds he believed that his girls could and would be world champions. He believed in them, he empowered them with confidence and he boldly approached professional managers and coaches on their behalf.

He made unpopular decisions, he protected their innocence and most of all he succeeded….2 stars were indeed born!

Now you and I may not have such a father or mother that believes so much in us and encouraged us forward to be stars but if we take a minute we can see that we have better!

We have a heavenly mother who knows us and loves us and who believes in us and she says to each one of us “one day you can be a saint” and lift that crown in heaven.

However just like becoming a world champion tennis player, this requires training and coaching and managing and no better woman for the job than Our Lady who has 2000 years experience and had coached all the greats!

Not Steffi Graf or Martina Hingis or Pete Sampras but Saint Therese, Saint Faustina, Saint Padre Pio….the greats of heaven!!

Yet the key to the Williams’s sister success was that they trusted their Dad and they listened to him and with this in mind, Our Lady spoke to me once again yesterday about that most important virtue of all….humility.

“My children 

Today I desire to talk to you about humility, the cornerstone of all virtues.

The key characteristic of humility is to listen openly, to learn like a child.

Before God we are mere creatures. I say ‘we’re because I too am a creature and even in heaven I too must l kneel before my God and adore Him while asking for wisdom, for guidance and for direction.

My little children, you must be open and willing to learn and learning in your human and broken condition is never easy.

Consider how long and how much effort it took you to do relatively simple things like learning to cycle and swim.

Consider how many times you felt like giving up, how slow your bodies were to learn and do what your minds had already understood!

Consider more difficult tasks like learning a foreign language and even after so many years of practice you still make mistakes and pronounce some words with a funny accent.

Holiness is no different my children and it requires years and years of prayer, of learning, of correction and of perseverance.

Wanting to be Holy and being holy are two very different things just like wanting to swim and actually learning and being able to swim are very different.

My children, if you don’t want and desire with all your hearts to be Holy then you will give up when you encounter obstacles and meet with opposition.

It is far easier to read about swimming and talk about swimming and watch others swimming than to get into the swimming pool and learn yourself and so too with holiness.

It is far easier to talk about holiness and preach about holiness and read books about holiness than to actually be holy and live Holy lives.

The lives of the saints are there to inspire, not to entertain and you will not become holy by simply reading but by reading and imitating the lives and virtues of the saints in the specific way that you are called.

My children, do not get discouraged because I am here to teach you and correct you and this is why I call you to be humble because it is not easy and your broken human nature struggles with correction.

Remember always that to be corrected is to be loved because correction leads to perfection and I desire you all to be perfect in holiness.

When you find things difficult I will be beside you and offer you my heart as a place of rest and strength.

Constantly seek wisdom my children and be open to correction with love and humility and you will accelerate on the path of holiness.

And so you see, we can learn so much from the secular world at times because the principles of success are always the same just the goal and definition of success is different!

So let us put our hand into Our Lady’s hand and let us remind ourselves that regardless of our human family, we have a heavenly mother and a heavenly family that believes in us 100% and if we listen will bring us all the way to heaven where we’ll pick up the real ‘grand slam’ on heaven’s centre court.

Our Lady, help us to be humble, help us to listen and accept your correction and then put it into action in our daily lives. Amen.

Michael