The Saints as heroes
Because I went to Catholic school, I was blessed to be surrounded by pictures and stories of the Saints throughout my childhood. From a young age, these holy men and women were my heroes and role models, and I wanted to be just like them. I loved hearing the stories of Saints like St. Francis, who showed gentleness and compassion to all of God’s creation, and St. Thérѐse of Lisieux, who loved God and her neighbors by doing little things with great love.
As I grew up, my role models became St. Mary Magdalene, who was a close disciple and friend of Jesus, St. Maximilian Kolbe, who offered to die in the place of another prisoner in Auschwitz, and St. Catherine of Alexandria, who debated and defended the faith so well that pagan philosophers converted to Christianity.
Sainthood is within reach
As I got older, I began to give into the lie that holiness was out of reach. The gap between myself and the Saints grew, and I began to view them as distant and completely different than me. Listening to the world, I thought that holiness and Sainthood were reserved only for a select few. Who was I to think that I was special enough for that? Giving into despair, I allowed myself to believe that I could never become a Saint.
Fortunately, when I went to college, my lukewarm faith caught on fire when I went to the Newman Center and joined a vibrant Catholic community. I understood what it meant to be a Saint, and I realized that God desires Sainthood for all of us! Now, I truly believe that we all can be Saints. God desires Sainthood for you and for me, and we should desire it too. Nothing is impossible with God, so holiness and Sainthood are within reach for all of us as long as we keep choosing God and living how He guides us.
From learning about our faith and the lives of the Saints, I ascertained a few things they did that made them Saints. Because we all should strive for holiness and Sainthood, I wanted to share them with you.
1 Pray every day.
Prayer is the cornerstone of your relationship with God. In prayer, we talk to Him and get to know Him more. We share our joys and struggles with Him, we entrust Him with our intentions, and we praise Him for His goodness. We become more aware of how He’s working in our lives, and we conform our own will with His. If we want to be Saints, then we need to make God our best friend. Our best friend is someone who we talk to as often as possible, so we should talk to God as much as we can.
2 Receive the Sacraments often.
If prayer is how we talk to God, then the Sacraments are how we spend time with God. The Sacraments give us real, tangible opportunities to be with Jesus, particularly because He’s fully present in the Sacraments. The priest acts in persona Christi in Confession, and the Eucharist is truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus. By frequenting Confession, Mass, and Adoration, we receive His graces in special ways. When we experience the person of God, we come to want what’s good and holy for us, and we’re more likely to avoid near occasions of sin.
3 Read the Bible, the Catechism, and other holy books.
Whether you’re a reader or not, these resources are great ways to learn more about God, the Church, and even ourselves. Understanding these things helps us to deepen our faith, and when we know more about God, we fall more in love with Him. No matter how long we’ve known our best friends, we can somehow always learn more about them. Until He gives us the beatific vision in Heaven, we can always keep learning about God.
4 Do little things with great love.
Some of the greatest Saints didn’t necessarily do “great” things. They loved deeply and were intentional about serving God through others. Their example should encourage us because we can easily do little things with great love. Although it might take some practice at first, we can humble ourselves to always put our neighbors first.
5 Consecrate yourself to Mary.
Have you ever been on a mission trip? Mary is the most perfect missionary, and her mission is to bring all of us to the Heart of her Son. According to Fr. Michael Gaitely, MIC, Marian Consecration is “the surest, easiest, shortest, and the most perfect means” to become a Saint. It’s a way to entrust ourselves to Mary so that she can share her graces with us. When we consecrate ourselves to Mary, she brings us closer to Jesus and helps us to love Him more. Some of the greatest Saints were devoted to Mary and consecrated themselves to her.
6 Fast and sacrifice.
Fasting and making sacrifices can make our prayers more powerful, and they can also shorten our time in Purgatory. The more penances we do for our sins on earth, the less time we’ll spend doing penance in Purgatory. Hopefully, we’ll do all the penance we need to do on earth so that we can go directly to heaven. It’s a fact that we’ll have to suffer in this life, but when we suffer well and intentionally offer it up for God, our suffering will sanctify us. The Saints often gave up good things in their lives so that they could pursue God. When we fast from food or sacrifice things like social media, and sleeping in, we give up something good for a greater good.
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Worthy of God’s Kingdom
God wants us to spend eternity with Him in His Kingdom, so the way that we live our lives should prepare us for that. In St. Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he encourages us to “lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12). In other words, the way that we live should reflect God’s glory, which we’ll share with Him in Heaven someday. This is exactly what the Saints did. Whether they were single, married, in religious lives, old, young, cradle Catholics, or converts, they lived their lives in ways that made them worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven.
No matter how God is calling you to spend your life, there are always ways to choose Him. If we keep God at the forefront of our lives and do our best to follow His will, then we’ll surely be Saints.
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