More than anything else the world needs saints! And that is exactly what God is urging you and me to become. Not next week, not next month, not next year, but now is the time humanity needs us to decisively commit our lives to faithfully walk in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus – just like thousands of canonized saints and countless little known saints have done throughout the centuries.
Well, you may think that you are not the stuff saints are made of; that you can’t possibly be that good, that kind, that generous, that just, that peaceful, that selfless, that prayerful, that loving, that Christ-centered, that holy. And you’re right, that is, if you think you can become a saint solely through your own efforts.
The desire of becoming a saint, and the life-long ongoing effort it takes to progress toward that most important goal, cannot be attained if you and I simply rely on just our own will-power, talents and skills. The age-old temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil are far too powerful; they will overwhelm our best intentions.
Rather, sainthood is a gift from God. For only the Divine Holy One can fill us with divine life. But for divine grace, divine life to enter and evermore fill us, we must cooperate with God’s grace. We must consistently open our minds and hearts to the ultimate power of God and God’s love, and what God is calling us to do, and then the evil one will have no power over us. For as the psalmist says, “I keep the Lord always before me; with him at my right hand, I shall never be shaken.” So, it is essential for us to stay focused on the Lord!
Similarly, in the words of St. Paul, let us likewise “put on the Lord Jesus Christ!” And may our lives also echo his acclamation that in God “we live and move and have our being.”
You and I were created by God to fully immerse ourselves in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus; to daily pray over it, think about it, and radiate it in word and deed.
To love God with our whole soul, heart, strength and mind, and to love everyone as we love ourselves is how a saint lives her or his life. This way of life – the only way to fully live life – is the only sure, comprehensive, lasting cure for all that ails our largely sick world and wounded planet.
From abortion to euthanasia, from gun violence to war, from poverty and hunger to homelessness, from drug cartels to refugees, from child labor to human trafficking, and from pollution to climate change the world is desperately in need of saints!
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Each holy person not only inspires others to strive for holiness, but also prays and works to change what St. Pope John Paul II called “structures of sin” into structures of justice and peace; thus answering the saint’s clarion call to build the “culture of life.”
In his new social encyclical letter titled Fratelli Tutti (“All Brothers”), Pope Francis urges us to encounter one another – especially those human beings existing on the margins, victims of the “throwaway culture” – and to build-up a world of “universal fraternity” and “social friendship” where welcoming replaces exclusion, where bridges replace walls, where mutual respect replaces disdain, where nonviolence replaces violence, where social justice replaces greed and where fraternal love replaces hate and indifference.
Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist.