February 1, 2014
There’s a vile stench that reeks within our Christian communities, and it wafts its foul odor in situations like this: An audience is asked by a presenter, “Who here wants to be a saint?”
Why is it that so many kids or adults don’t raise their hands? And for those that do, why do they hesitate with embarrassment? Why do people get made fun of or harassed for wanting to be holy? Why is it that people think only nuns and priests should be holy and the laity can get to heaven with a “well, I’m not that bad” kind of attitude? Why do we have the perception that saints are pathetic, boring and have no fun?
We Catholics are just as guilty as the rest of the population of falling into “heroic” mediocrity—just doing enough to get by, making it by the “skin of our teeth.” There’s little desire to go above and beyond the minimum effort required. This venomous disease has permeated all aspects of our lives—school, work, family, vocation. How do we overcome it? By being who we were made it be: saints.
God made us out of love that we may be with Him for eternity in heavenly bliss. But to get there, we have to say “yes” to His plan (Jer. 29:11) throughout each day. Contrary to the natural response of our fallen nature, being a saint does not take anything away from you being you. It actually make you more you, without the wounds and brokenness of sin! It allows you to live life to the full. We need to allow heroic generosity to fill our lives since we can only discover who we are by making a gift of ourselves to others.
There isn’t a 10-step process to becoming a saint. Holiness = sainthood. We must aspire to be a saint every day. It should shape the things to which we give our time, energy, love and attention. Parents, you need to instill this in your children!
When I was serving as a missionary to college students, I was blessed to see huge transformations take place. Students were encountering the Lord and resolving to pray every day and attend daily Mass. They asked me if I could write a letter to their parents telling them that their child was different than before—that he or she was trying to pursue holiness. Why did they ask this? Because their parents were trying to dissuade them from spiritual growth by saying things like, “You don’t need to be that religious.”
Every one of us is made to be a saint and every one us of can be one. The choice is yours. Go get it! Jesus has faith in you.
Duppong is director of adult faith formation for the Bismarck Diocese. She is currently participating in a two-year spiritual mentorship program through the Archdiocese of Kansas City to grow in her own spiritual life and to help guide others.