How to become a saint

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29 Jul 2015

I attended a youth leadership forum recently and one of the speakers talked of how we could be saints. This idea seemed extraordinary to me. I wouldn’t put myself and a saint in the same sentence. I’ve always considered them way out of my league.

Upon reflection, it’s a pretty amazing idea. After all, saints were people who lived out the gospel, exemplifying Christian values. They were God’s people as much as we are, sent to do some good and make a difference in the world.

They were sinners too, which gives me and the rest of us some hope. Fr James Martin SJ writes in his book ‘Becoming who you are’ that being ourselves is the first step. St Ignatius of Loyola in the early days of his conversion sought to be like St Francis of Assisi and St Dominic. He then found his own way.

St Therese of Lisieux became a doctor of the Church without leaving her convent after joining, and dying in her early twenties. 

Pope John  Paul the Second became a Saint leading the Church, while Mother Teresa did it in the slums of Calcutta.

Imagine the effect if we intentionally tried to be ourselves, while living the principles of St Francis of Assisi. I love his prayer:

Lord make me an instrument of your peace:

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is darkness, light;

where there is despair, hope;

and where there is sadness, joy.

Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. 

For it is in giving they we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and in dying that we are born to eternal life.

They are extraordinary, life changing words. Indeed our Pope, who chose his name after this saint, is a living example of this beautiful prayer.

We are blessed to have so many saints we can turn to in our hour of need for intercessions as well as examples of people who have fully lived the gospel.

I believe that in our ever changing world we are being given new opportunities to live exemplary lives. Through advances in technology and the growth of social media, we have the ability to influence and touch people’s lives like never before.

So while I still struggle to put myself and a saint in the same sentence, I now have something extraordinary to aspire to and with the grace of God I go forth into the world.

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