As I write this, it is All Saints’ Day, and I’m not feeling saintly. My Facebook newsfeed today displayed pic after pic of beautiful Saints with encouraging words, reminding me it is my calling to be a saint, too. And each time I gazed on one, I felt far from this goal. Be a saint, they say. Be a saint, the Church says. Be a saint, Christ says. Be a saint.
I read the lives of the Saints. These holy women and men often began their Earthly pilgrimages as your average sinner. Sts. Augustine and Dominic are the first to come to my mind with the havoc of their adolescent and young adult lives. Yet, as they matured in their relationship with Christ, the work these holy men did for God while on Earth, their dedication to the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy are, well, saintly, untouchable it seems.
I see personal friends endure trials the likes of which I have never known, and their faith in God puts me to shame as I see how weak and hole-filled my own faith is. Other friends dwell in the peace of Christ and in a devotion to His Mother to a degree that my own soul detects that holiness when I am around them. Their peacefully confident demeanor is a white back drop which proununciates the black of my sinful attitude – my pride, my wrath, my gluttony, my sloth, oh, so ugly.
I even hear these friends speak so humbly about how they, too, struggle with sins, and I can’t help but attribute this directly to their humility. To the eye of my soul, these friends are nearly sinless and may as well be canonized now, and yet in their humility they can’t even see it.
Is it possible that one can participate regularly in the Sacraments and not eventually be made holy by them? I feel like that could be the case with me, but that is my sinful despair talking. The truth is, if I remain faithful to Christ, faithful to His Grace which He imparts to my soul in the Sacraments of the Most Holy Eucharist and in Reconciliation, then I have no choice but to know that He, in return, is faithfully working to make me holy, saintly.
Indeed, the truth is, when I reflect on my own Earthly pilgrimage, I am compelled to notice how His Grace has healed my broken will, my injured heart, dwelling in my soul. It wasn’t so long ago that I didn’t know what any of the Sacraments really were for, nor cared. It wasn’t so long ago that I embraced the world’s teachings on morality and cast off the Church’s teachings as old fashioned. It wasn’t so long ago that prayer never entered my mind, and now prayer is often flowing through my mind. I suppose, God’s grace is indeed sufficient, for even my own soul. Perhaps Christ is making a saint of me, too.
“He must increase; I must decrease.”
John the Baptist, speaking of Jesus. Jn 3:30
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.”
Jesus, to his disciples. Jn 6:54
“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand.”
Jesus, to the skeptical Jews. Jn 10:27
“Remain in me, as I remain in you.”
Jesus, to his disciples, the night before he died. Jn 15:4
All you Holy Men and Women, pray for us!