Called To Be Saints


Why is it when I say this in some very faithful Catholic groups, I get looks of doubt and a "not me!" sort of shoulder shrugging? Why is it that people refuse to believe that we are all called to be Saints, and by that, I do not mean the little "s" saints that seem to have no real meaning other than belonging to Christendom at large? We are called to be capital "S" Saints, even if we are never canonized or recognized. We are called to lives of heroic virtue--every single one of us by virtue of our baptism. We are called to lives of sacrifice and praise, lives that honor God not in the acquisition of material goods, but in the salvation of souls through corporal and spiritual works of Mercy that bring the grace of God to the individual.

Did Jesus not say, "Be ye perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect?" If Jesus commanded it, is it impossible to do? Even if it is impossible for us alone, Paul reminds us in Philippians that "I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me." So why is it that so many people deny their responsibility in this? Why are we so reluctant to believe that all are called and chosen--that sanctity is not merely for the few but for all people everywhere at all times.

Well, I say once again, we are called to be Saints, and we don't get there alone. We only achieve the seemingly impossible by complete cooperation with grace in the Will of God the Father through the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We must recall the famous formula for sanctity, given by Our Lord and incumbent upon all of us even though it was spoken of Him in particular, "I must decrease so that He might increase." Might here is not an expression of probabilistic formulation, it is a given. If we decrease, get out of the way, and turn ourselves to cooperation with God's will, He will increase in us so that our lives will be lives of heroic virtue.

How do we do this? Each Order has its own formulation of the principle, but it all boils down to the same thing--Prayer, prayer, prayer, service, service, service, and humility, humility, humility. By the habitual exercise of Faith, Hope, and Charity, we begin to align ourselves with God's will. In prayer, we being to make out vaguely what shape that Will may take for us as individuals. We may not see everything clearly, and we certainly won't see more than a step at a time, but we will be given enough to move forward. In prayer we also express our deep love for God and by expressing it, help to make it more real to ourselves and thus help it to grow. You may love someone deeply and completely, but if you do not say it, then it is not real for that person, and in a very real sense it isn't even very real or valuable to you. When we say that we love someone it comes as both a true statement and a reminder of the truth. In prayer when we tell God we Love Him, we remind ourselves of the fact, and incidentally what the fact demands of us--"If you love me you will keep my commands."

Prayer and love of God leads very naturally to service. James told us "Faith without works is dead." St. Thérèse tells us that "Love without works is dead." And that great theologian Eliza Doolittle reminds us in no uncertain terms of this understanding, "Don't talk of stars burning at night, If you're in love, show me!" So too with God. If we're in love, we must show Him. We show Him by acts of love and service toward his people here on Earth, most particularly the oppressed, the imprisoned, the ill, those less capable of caring for themselves, the underprivileged, and those who suffer from every form of mental illness and oppression. Not one of us is free of the obligation of service in some form. The forms will all be different dependent upon our talents and upon the people whom we are called to serve. But service is an active, powerful sign of true love in the heart. It is the powerful manifestation of our heart of love.

And humility. Humility is the key ingredient so that we don't start patting ourselves on the back for our excellent service and show of our love for God. We are not permitted pride in our work. Pride will kill love any day in our weak human natures. We must exercise humility, valuing ourselves little and God within us greatly. We must see our works exactly at they are, very small in the large scheme of things and hardly a dent in the surface of the misery of the world. Nevertheless, these works we must do and this service we must perform and we must do it in love of God and humble thanks to Him for the opportunities He grants us.

So, we are all called to be Saints. It's time. If you haven't started, get in Contact and find out what kind of Saint you are called to be!

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on June 19, 2003 8:13 AM.

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