Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Bullet Points to Sainthood
Every November the Church celebrates All-Saints Day and the first Sunday of Advent. The timing of these two Holy Days being celebrated in the same month may be incidental. Nevertheless, it is true to say that heroic virtue among the Saints is but the fruit of Christ’s coming into this fallen world of ours. For this reason a renewed devotion to the Saints during the season of Advent and for the upcoming year of 2012 is in keeping with the mission of the New Evangelization.
The lives of the Saints are the continuation of Christ’s life throughout history. The invocation of the Saints, studying their writings, reflecting upon their lives and imitating their virtues is chief among the instruments God will use in renewing the Church and saving Western Civilization, if it is to be saved.
As with any demographic or society, the men, women and children that the Catholic Church has held up as heroines of the Faith display patterns of attitudes, habits and traits. Some are obvious, some are not so obvious. In any case, here are a few bullet points to Sainthood worth considering.
• Believe that it is possible to become a Saint. You can't be a Saint if you do not believe that it is possible.
• Will to become a Saint. Your desire is half the work.
• Chief among any ambition or enterprise should be the desire to glorify God first and foremost. All great initiatives flow from this. St. Benedict never sought out to lay the foundations of a new Christian civilization, but that is what he did by desiring to glorify God. St. Ignatius of Loyola set out to magnify the Lord in his spirituality, but the unintended consequences led to the needed reforms in the Church. As our Lord said, seek the kingdom of God and everything else will be given to you.
• Believe that everything that happens to you comes from the hand of God, either through his permission or through him willing it. As Job said, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Notice he didn’t say that evil men or Satan has taken away, but the Lord has taken away. Everything that happens in our life- good or bad –is part of an intelligent design. All things work together for the good for those who love the Lord.
• As such, will what God wills. This is very difficult in times of trial but it has a purifying effect. Indeed, do God’s will with joy in both disagreeable and agreeable circumstances accepting all things with equal reverence. St. Paul said, "I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me."
• In addition to seeing and loving Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, revere and love him in your neighbor and especially the poor. It was said that Mother Theresa bowed when being introduced to people. Bowing was her way of showing reverence to Christ in others. Giving her time to the poor was her way of serving Him. Every canonized Saint loved the poor!
• Avoid detraction, slander or gossip. Do you very best to give people the benefit of the doubt. Constructive criticism or confrontation should be used, as our Lord used it, for the good of souls or the common good. The trick is knowing when it is legitimate and pleasing to our Lord and knowing when it is sinful.
• When rejected, reprimanded or humiliated, accept it with joy knowing that this is a powerful participation in the Passion of our Lord Jesus. BTW- The Saints teach that the most efficacious meditation is that on our Lord's Passion.
• Every week or every day, practice acts of self-denial for the conversion of sinners. This fosters a spirit of sacrifice which in turn expands ones capacity to love.
• Pray in solitude and in silence on a daily basis. Some confine their spirituality exclusively to communal prayers with others. Both are needed but alone time with the Lord is a must. Indeed, prayer is the most important thing you can ever do in your life. The dinning with our Lord at the altar presupposes that we have an ongoing conversation with Him.
• Lastly, engage in spiritual reading. Read Scripture and the writings of the Saints. So many Catholics omit this in their prayer time. They want to do all the talking. But wisdom comes in listening to the Lord. Through spiritual reading you will hear the voice of the Lord about those particular points of your life.
• From this comes self-knowledge. Knowing ourselves as we really are in the light of God has inestimable value. This is why an examination of our conscience is important. The Saints have found great peace and liberation knowing that they, because of their sinfulness, are nothing without God; yet, at the same time, this inspires gratitude for their dignity and purpose they have in Christ.
Sainthood is for everyone. Again, the first step in becoming a Saint is to will it!! By far, this will be the most powerful instrument of the New Evangelization. And in our daily striving to become a Saint, that is, in conforming ourselves to the image of Christ, we will become “an everlasting gift to the Lord.” It doesn't get any better than that!
Posted by Joe at 9:14 AM