We are all called to spend our lives striving to fall more and more deeply in love with Christ. We are meant to seek, to find and to follow our paths that lead to our vocations. We are meant to truly love God, to seek and to do always and only his will. Again we are meant to fall in love with God. We are called, just as the famous, canonized Saints we honor today have been called, to spend all our Christians lives, from the time we realize Him, to the time we enter eternity, loving, serving, and giving our everything to Him and to those in most need of his mercy. As Christians we ought to have a deep personal relationship with Christ. We must have a prayer life that reflects that relationship. That relationship will help us to become like St. Mother Teresa, St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila or St. Therese of Lisieux.
You Can Become a Saint Just Like Them.
Nice words, right? Nice, beyond nice though. Is this easy to accomplish for most of us?
We are all sinners. Even the canonized saints were sinners. Some of them, before their conversion, or reversion were notorious sinners. If you tell me you don’t sin, that’s just not true because you are a sinner. As a sinner you may not realize the depth of love Jesus has for you and until you do you may not know what you need to change in your life that you may sin less and become saint-like just like the saints. By the way saints don’t consider themselves saints. They look at their imperfections and know they need to continue seeking God’s will and become still more holy.
Some sinners turned Saints are in the Bible. Look at Saint Peter. He denied being a follower of Christ, a friend of Jesus and yet he is a Saint and for Catholics the first Pope. Saint Paul was an avid hater of the followers of Christ. But he has an incredible miraculous conversion story. He not only became a follower of Christ but wrote letters of encouragement to people in the early Church which made their way into the New Testament.
Carlo Crivelli, 13th Cent.
We could argue about who gets to go to heaven, but that would be fruitless, and perhaps turn into angry disagreements as opposed an acts of love. All the Saints were madly in love with Jesus. Yes, some were priests, nuns, married, or single. Some held down simple jobs and others were renowned scholars. Some started their childhood poor and others were from wealthy, even noble families. Some died as martyrs, some at a quite young age of illnesses or still others “old age”. So there is no mold, no one lifestyle. You can’t truly look at an infant and say a hundred years from now he or she will be a canonized Saint. Recently a Polish family of 9 killed for hiding Jews during World War 2 were beatified by Pope Francis including an unborn baby.
So what do they have in common? Well as I said, they were madly in love with Christ. They made sacrifices for those in need. They, based on their own time and place in history, gave their whole lives to Christ, always putting the needs of other before their needs. They gave up what they had, including what most of us would consider what they may need, for the love of others. Perhaps it was food or clothing for the monetarily poor or they may have offered up their sufferings without complaining. They had such a wonderful relationship with Jesus. A true Saint would go against the grain even giving up family expectations, or an easier life to live humbly, simply and to seek God no matter the cost.
I don’t doubt that there are unsung Saints lost to history who lived just as holy a life as the ones that can be seen as statues, icons, on banners and prayer cards. These are the ones who were never canonized or even considered because they were never known beyond the people they interacted with and who are also lost to time and history, but not lost to God.
So, now what?
Well now it is my turn and your turn to be a saint. What changes can YOU make in your life that will enhance your relationship with our Triune God? It is a lifelong process and a forever commitment. How can you better serve the panhandler, the sick, the downtrodden etc.? What can your prayer life be like if you put in more time and effort? What changes can each of us as individuals make given our current state of life? Do we need to change our state of life?
I have to answer these questions for myself and aside from the general principle of loving God and neighbor more and acting differently to do so, all our specific individual answers will not fit into the same mold as someone else’s. It’s easy to look at the lives of the saints. There is plenty of information online about saints from different rites and churches as well as from the Bible. What did they do that showed their holiness? How can you mirror some of their actions, their deep committed love for Christ above all?
Well don’t just read this and declare, interesting or boring, and judge by complaining that my grammar may be imperfect. If you do those and walk away you are missing the point. Read it over and answer the questions for yourself, look in the mirror, look at the Saints and look in the mirror again. I’m no saint but all I can do is keep trying. I know God loves me no matter what, but I must become more like the saintly children of God and not just out of fear of hell. No Saint ever became so out of fear, but only from a deep love of God and neighbor.
Remember You Can Become a Saint!!!
Happy Feast of All Saints!