Lent Day 18: Saints Past and Present

Fr. Robert Barron’s Lenten Meditation goes into the diversity of the saints. Despite what you may think, given the flatness of the stained glass windows, saints are not cookie cutter clones. The saints in Heaven are as varied as the flowers on earth. St. Therese of Lisieux says this a lot better, though:

“I understood that every flower created by Him is beautiful, that the brilliance of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not lessen the perfume of the violet or the sweet simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all the lowly flowers wished to be roses, nature would no longer be enamelled with lovely hues. And so it is in the world of souls, Our lord’s living garden.”

Here’s something I bet you never thought about: YOU are called to become a saint!

“But I can’t be a saint!” you say. “I’d have to be a priest or a nun or something like that.”

Ever heard of St. Gianna? 20th Century saint (as in born in the 1900s) who lived a life as a mother and doctor who decided to have her 4th child in spite of the fact that it could possibly kill her. (Pro-Life feminist FTW!) Or St. Pier Giorgio Frassati, a man who never married but spent his life taking care of the poor who lived in his town with his parents having no idea about what he was doing aside from the fact that he spent a lot of time in prayer.

“But those were great people!” you say. “I could never do miracles, give my life up like that, or serve the poor like they did.”

Mother Teresa said:

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.

“How the heck can I become a saint?” you ask.

It starts with being yourself. God isn’t asking you to be exactly like any of the saints you may have heard about, but you can learn more about the saints this Lent and figure out who you find yourself relating to. However, I want to challenge you to find a saint that’s the complete opposite of you and find out what you can learn from them.

Here’s an example from me. My top 5 saints (in no particular order) are: St. Monica, St. Therese, St. Thomas Aquinas, Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen, and St. Joan of Arc.

Like St. Monica, I’ve had my share of bad relationships. Like St. Therese, I prefer a simple life and have a great inner life. But as far as the other 3 saints are concerned, they all have something I wish I had in myself. I love St. Thomas Aquinas’s intellect and would give my pinkie toe to spend a day with him, talking about the Summa. Also, St. Thomas Aquinas was the one who wrote my favorite Latin song, the Tantum Ergo. Venerable Fulton Sheen brought Catholicism to the mainstream media through his TV show and I want to do what he did someday. And I long for St. Joan’s courage to stand up for my faith. The closest thing I got to being like St. Joan of Arc was acting as her in a monologue for a college drama class.

Look at modern examples of wonderful, holy people who aspire to be saints right now. Look at what Pope Francis does and not just what the media says about him. Or look at what Sister Cristina is doing on The Voice. By putting herself out there in the Italian mainstream media, she is representing nuns everywhere. Check out Audrey Assad and Matt Maher for modern examples of Catholics who are living their faith doing what they love. Or if you’re more of a bookworm, check out Mark Hart the Bible Geek or Brandon Vogt or the numerous Catholic apologists like Peter Kreeft or GK Chesterton. (BTW: Pray for GK Chesterton’s intercessions because he would make a seriously awesome saint.)

And if the idea of sainthood still intimidates you, you’re not alone. Listen to Danielle Rose’s “The Saint that is Just Me.” Danielle Rose, a Catholic singer, discerned religious life for a while, but after spending a few years in the convent, she learned that it wasn’t her calling. She now works in an orphanage in China, but she also has an album out, which you can check out at her website.

tl;dr: Be holy and sainthood will follow eventually.

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