I’m a coward.
I read the lives of the saints and pray, “Lord, don’t let that be me.”
They met Jesus and Mary face-to-face in visions. They have amazing gifts like prophecy and heroic virtue. Some even bi-locate. I’ll admit, I’m jealous of all the cool things that happened to them.
But to whom much is given, much is required. The faith of some saints is tested by spiritual darkness or dryness. They undergo great suffering and experience the pain of Christ’s crucifixion. They sacrifice much, even their lives in martyrdom.
And it makes me afraid.
I’m nothing like them.
Isn’t it St. Teresa of Avila who said to Our Lord, “If this is how you treat your friends, it’s no wonder you have so few?”
I don’t have what it takes to stand up in holiness through that much suffering.
Lord, don’t make me a Saint.
We’re often tempted to view the Saints as superheroes… Tweet this.
We’re often tempted to view the Saints as superheroes. They have gifts and powers given only to the chosen few. They’re above us in every way. They do things that could never be accomplished by mere humans today.
We idealize them and in the process we lose sight of their humanity. We elevate them to a status similar to the Greek gods and goddesses of old. They’re somehow above us. They’re endowed with supernatural gifts. There’s a great chasm separating us.
We could never aspire to reach their perfection, and they would never stoop so low as to struggle with the same sins and vices I do every day.
That’s a pack of lies.
A collection of thoughts that fill us with fear, steal our hope, stop us from moving forward.
Saints are people too.
They put their pants on one leg at a time. Unless they wore robes… whatever.
Saints are people too. They put their pants on one leg at a time. Unless they wore robes. Tweet this.
Saints are sinners too. They’re born with the same stain of original sin on their souls. They struggled with concupiscence just like we do.
But ultimately, they didn’t let fear hold them back.
They surrendered their weaknesses and failings to God. They stepped out in faith to let God transform them. They grew in virtue little by little.
Holiness wasn’t easy for them. Through the grace of God, they fought for every victory.
Holiness isn’t for the chosen few. It’s for all of us. The cowardly. The impatient. The licentious.
We don’t have to be afraid. We don’t have to hold back. Give God your heart – He will transform you. He will give you the grace to overcome sin, to stand strong through suffering, to practice heroic virtue in the critical moment.
Our weakness is an open door for His grace to enter in.
Sainthood is for sinners.
Lord, let that be me.
Check out these inspiring stories of sinners-turned-saints:
St. Augustine overcomes lust
“”The great saint Augustine is famous for saying “God give me chastity, but not yet.” We laugh at this, mostly because it is so true. But it is also comforting to know that this headstrong man, who resisted and ran from God, like us, was pursued and favored by God more fervently. … Spoil alert; God’s love won. Augustine eventually gave his entire life over to God, and ultimately the “lost cause” became a saint.”
- from the Lion of Design
St. Francis deSales battles anger
“If you read anything by St. Francis de Sales, you come away with the impression that he was patience incarnate. He talks endlessly about the wonderful benefits of meekness, gentleness, and kindness—especially to those who deserve it least.
“Yet, many don’t realize that this great saint struggled for most of his life with a fiery temper and an intense impatience. By his own admission, it took him nearly 20 years to overcome these tendencies.”
- from the Catholic Gentleman
St. Nicholas hits Arius
“As Arius vigorously continued, Nicholas became more and more agitated. Finally, he could no longer bear what he believed was essential being attacked. The outraged Nicholas got up, crossed the room, and slapped Arius across the face! The bishops were shocked. It was unbelievable that a bishop would lose control and be so hotheaded in such a solemn assembly. ”
- from the St. Nicholas Center
St. Olga the murder princess
“St. Olga of Kiev was a murder princess. When her husband was killed, she invited representatives of the tribe that killed him to a court banquet and then buried them alive. Then she demanded that more come and burned them alive. She killed thousands more at a feast held in her honor and finally burned an entire city to the ground, inhabitants and all, after promising them peace. Having murdered just about everybody she could find, she apparently ran afoul of a Christian missionary and was converted.”
- read this and other incredible conversion stories at Held by His Pierced Hands
Sainthood is for sinners. Lord, let that be me. Tweet this.