Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Call to Holiness

Leila, of Catholic Bubbles blogging fame, posed a question earlier this week.  "How badly do you want to be saint?"

The problem I found with answering the question was thus:  Does this mean "how much do you desire sainthood?"  and since wanting to be saint do you mean are you willing to accept the call to holiness and in accepting that call to holiness, how far would you accept the will of God....

You get the point...the question left me with more questions than answers.  So I eked out a measly answer and someone responded that they thought I was despairing.

Basically we shouldn't be asking ourselves how badly we desire sainthood, what we should be asking ourselves is two things 1)what does it mean to be holy and 2) am I willing to accept the will of God.

The first one can be divided into two parts:  1) universal holy acts and 2) what it means to be holy unto ourselves.

Because a person isn't necessarily holy because they...practice nfp, go to Mass on a regular basis, raise their children Catholic, help the poor, pray the rosary daily, or any such acts of piety.


Holiness is best exemplified by the BVM and saints who led ordinary, simple lives and decided one fine day to answer God's will.  That's it.

I'm not saying don't do the universal acts of holiness like going to Mass.  But simply checking it off the list does not make one a candidate for sainthood.


Now the point that seemed to be lacking in any of the responses should be the obvious.  We cannot make ourselves into saints.  Not even if we try to check off acts of piety.  Nope.  No, the only pathway to sainthood is through Christ.  It is Christ who shapes and molds us through our decision to follow God's will no matter what. 

So really sainthood isn't something that should be desired either.  The desire should be having a relationship with Christ and the desire to do God's will.  Whatever happens after that is naturally up to Christ's ability to mold us.  Because we cannot make ourselves into saints on our own no matter how hard we try.

Really the question we should be asking ourselves is more fundamental...are we willing to follow the will of God no matter where it leads us?  Can we answer God's call fully?  Do we have the desire or a half-hearted attempt?

But maybe that's what she meant.

And the call, the will of God is very individualistic.  What God has in store for me is not what he has in store for you.  My path to sainthood may have something to do with being a parent, a musician, a blogger...many things or maybe not.  These things are neither right or wrong or dogmatic.  They are individual, based on God's will for my life.  Furthermore the only way to know these things is to have an active relationship with God, even while doing seemingly mundane tasks. Some people call this prayer.  But you don't need words really.

So a path to sainthood, a desire for holiness, is really very simply a desire for God.  Do you desire God?  Do you desire God active and alive in your life?  Or are you still very obstinate and wanting to strong arm your way through life, checking off things as a way to get to heaven?  Because being a Pharisee gets you nowhere.

So maybe what I'm looking for is clarification...Is Leila asking how deep a desire I have for God in my life (ie how much will I follow the will of God)?  Because to desire sainthood seems like asking me if I desire heaven.  Everyone is going to answer yes.  Who wouldn't?  But asking if I am willing to do the work, now that's something different.  And the work for me isn't necessarily a check list of stuff.  It's allowing God to take the wheel (which let's face it is very scary for most of us).

I'm not sure how to wrap up the post...I keep thinking I should invite people into a life with Christ like a televangelist or that I should encourage people to find God in the seemingly mundane or to pray fervently that people follow the will of God...but then this post is all about how confused I am about a question anyway.

1 comment:

  1. This is excellent! Great questions! And, it's simple, at least in my simple little mind. You said that we really shouldn't desire to be a saint, but since sainthood (sanctity, holiness) is synonymous with conforming our will perfectly to God's will, then oh yes, we should! :)

    Death to self, thy will be done, on earth (and in my heart and soul and mind) as it is in Heaven. That is what it is to be a saint, both down here and in Heaven above. Total union with God. I must decrease so that He might increase. Yes, I desire to be a saint! There is nothing else… it's the only thing.

    (Although I am not concerned about being a canonized saint! I just want to get to Heaven, and everyone in Heaven is a saint, most of them not on the Church calendar. I don't expect to be given a Feast Day, ha ha!)

    Truly, a great reflection! Thank you! I wish everyone on earth pondered these things...


I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!