God Created You to Be a Saint!
“There is only one tragedy in the end, not to have been a saint.” – Léon Bloy
Happy All Saints Day! You’ve probably heard me say, “There are no non-saints in heaven!” Everyone in heaven is a saint, and God created YOU to be a saint. God created you and me to enjoy eternal happiness in loving union with him. So if you’re going to be a saint, it needs to happen sometime, whether here on earth or in purgatory. Better that we become a saint now because, if we wait, then we will totally miss out on the mission God gave uniquely to us to accomplish. “God has given me a mission?” you may ask. Yes, God has given you a mission that is specifically yours because only you can touch the people with whom you have unique relationships.
As you know, the Church remembers many different canonized saints on different days throughout the year. Each canonized saint has a certain feast day. On that day, we recall how God worked through them in powerful and even miraculous ways. For example, this Wednesday, Nov. 4 is a special day for me because it is the feast day of my patron saint, St. Charles Borromeo, and so I’ll read and meditate on something that he wrote on that day.
But on All Saints Day, we do not focus solely on those officially canonized saints, but we celebrate the feast of all those countless more unknown saints throughout the history of the world. Those unsung heroes whom the Church has never officially declared a saint, this is their feast day. It’s those holy and important people that you know in your own life that have gone before us. All those of the vast multitude who have survived the time of “great distress,” to use the language of the Book of Revelation, who have survived the trials and temptations of their earthly existence, today is their feast day and our own future feast day!
I think of my grandmother whose faithfulness to our family and devotion to her faith had an effect on me that I didn’t realize consciously until after she passed away. I believe she still watches out for her grandson even now. I think of my own parents who were daily communicants and gave me beautiful examples of sacrificial love for one another, for the whole family, for the Church, and for many of those in need.
Who have been those hidden saints in your own life, who have had a profound effect on you and have helped you become closer to God, those in your life whose souls you are confident are with God now? Call them to mind, celebrate them, and ask for their intercession because today is their feast day! All those who have lived lives of holiness in a hidden way and even all those who have not lived such a holy life and may have even had a most heinous past, but who at some point in their life turned to the Lord’s saving help and mercy, sincerely repented of their ways, and began life anew, the abundant life, even those who have spent much time in purgatory, but are now victorious over death, sin and sadness, this too is their feast day!
So, saints are not the holier-than-thous. Rather, they are the ones who realize their own limitations and their own inability to love as they want without God, no matter how much willpower they put into it. But to what does this humble realization lead? It leads them to turn to the One who can give the grace and power to live that life of holiness. They turn and fall in love with Love itself and surrender their lives to him. It is at that point that they unlock the key to their sanctity because then, as St. Paul says, it is no longer I who lives, meaning my old selfish self. “It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.”
Our greatest pursuit in this life should be nothing less than eternal happiness with God. Every fleeting moment of happiness in this life will be in vain and meaningless if we fail to attain that eternal happiness. So, if you’re still thinking, “I could never be a saint!” it would be wise to think again because there are no non-saints in heaven! Excuse the double negative, but let me repeat that. There are no non-saints in heaven! Everyone who enjoys eternal bliss has become a saint, whether that road to holiness happens here and now or however long it takes in purgatory. If we are to join our holy loved ones who have gone before us, then anything that is not of God must be purged from us. It might as well be now because it frees us for the mission God has entrusted to us, the mission of making disciples of all nations, and building up the kingdom of God.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Chas Canoy