We’re all called to be saints, and considering the alternative, who wouldn’t want to be one? That said, the goal of sainthood can seem a daunting one (as it truly is). Unfortunately when most of us look at the examples that have gone before us, we give up before even trying.
The good news is that God calls each of us to sainthood in our own unique way. Yes, some saints are called to be exemplary witnesses to the faith, but the vast majority of us are called to be a witness to sainthood in our daily lives. Thanks be to God that we can be saints in our daily life – I’m not sure if I’m cut out for the trials others have had to go through.
Opportunities for a saintly life abound all around us. We just need to be reminded sometimes of where to look for it.
The first step on the path to sainthood is to deepen your relationship with God. Just like our earthly relationships, our relationship with God is fed with good communication. The same as any friendship, it’s not enough to just bring our worries, needs and desires to Him; we need to listen to what God is saying to us as well. We have all had a relationship where one person constantly takes, while the other does nothing but give. Experience tells us that this kind of relationship can’t last. Thankfully our God is not like this, and it’s usually us who turns our back on Him and not vice-versa.
Some saints would spend hours daily in Eucharistic adoration; most of us don’t have the luxury of this kind of time. Our daily vocations put demands on our time, but this doesn’t mean we can’t set aside time for God (we do it for our spouse, kids, friends and work – so why not for God?). Increasing our time and prayer and being aware of His answers, we cannot want but to spend more time with Him and marvel at the way He works in the world.
At one point or another in their short lives, Catholic children have heard the expression: Offer it up! It’s the Catholic parent’s standard reply any time a child begins to whine. But there’s something to be said about penitential suffering, and bearing our daily challenges with grace.
In our fallen human state, we can’t choose not to suffer, but we can choose how we deal with our sufferings. And honestly, our daily sufferings do add up. From the aforementioned whiny child, to the annoying co-worker, to the neighbour’s barking dog, to the stone in our shoe, to the… to the… to the… There’s no escaping it.
When we let these little challenges get to us, they become insurmountable and we become miserable. When we accept these obstacles with grace, persevering quietly in our suffering, we become a witness to the peace that Christ brings us.
How does our suffering become penitential? Offer it up! Offer your suffering for the greater good. Offer your suffering as a prayer for someone who needs it, for the souls in purgatory, for the conversion of sinners. At the very least, offer your suffering up for the atonement of your own sinfulness.
At the end of the day, misery loves company; yet peace is contagious - just imagine the difference you can make in the world by suffering through your next headache with grace.
Sainthood is all about getting ourselves and others to heaven. In the great commissioning, Christ exhorted us to “Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” (Mk 16:15) If we are to be Christ’s disciples, we are challenged to bring others to Him.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that we all need to get up on our soapbox on the street corner (though some are called to do this), we can evangelize in many different ways in our daily lives. Being a witness with your life can be the greatest evangelization tool of all. It suffices to ask yourself some of the following questions:
- How do I interact with others around me?
- How do I treat the unfortunate that come into my life?
- Do I teach my children to pray?
- Do I have the courage to pray in public?
- Do I answer the questions/challenges put to my faith?
- How do I dress?
- What TV shows do I watch with family/friends?
- What comes out of my mouth when I’m frustrated?
- What music plays on my car radio?
- What websites do I surf when no one is at home?
This kind of examination of conscience can go on much longer. The point is to become more aware of aligning our lives to Christ.
Sainthood won’t be easy. Jesus even told us that to get to heaven we will need to pick up our Cross. (cf Mt 16:24) We may never be officially recognized as a saint, but by seizing our daily opportunities for sanctity, we can become every day saints.