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Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
November 4, 2007
Do We Understand Sainthood in This Century?

     Last week’s Religious Education class with the 2nd and 3rd graders centered on Sainthood.  There was a whole top page of pictures illustrating saints of old.  One of the questions was: Do you recognize any of these people?  Needless to say, there were not many hands that went up.  I finally got someone to recognize Mother Theresa and with a little coaxing, we were able to recognized St. Francis, (only because we had spoken about him about three weeks ago.  Once we got through that ordeal I was faced with the problem of having to explain what a Saint is.  This was not an easy task. 

    The more serious consideration is: Are there many adults who fall into similar category?  Perhaps it is not important to recognize any particular saint but do we, as adults, know what goes into becoming a saint?  What does it mean to be a saint?  This is not a minor consideration for people who have been baptized into the Church and have repeatedly professed commitment to Christian discipleship.  Sainthood is not an option for us, it must be our focus.  We must commit our energy, in faith and love, to this prospect.

    The real question for us is not, “Do we recognize one or another of the saints of old?” but rather, do we understand the meaning of sainthood?  Drew Christiansen, S.J. (the editor of the America magazine),  gives us a worthwhile definition for our reflection.  He believes that a saint is someone who has experienced a thorough conversion of mind, heart and spirit.  The mark of a real saint is someone who has led a holy life. 

    Are there many people who can fit into this category?  Indeed there are.  Many men and women from all walks of life have made it their goal to attain sainthood.  This cannot be done by oneself of course.  One cannot walk the road of holiness without the help of God.  God is the one who invites us to holiness.  He is the one who enlightens our path and then, gives us the strength and courage to journey to the end.  We need to listen and respond to the call and be willing to walk the journey to the end. 

    At this point you may be asking, “But what exactly do we need to do or what kind of person must we be to be a saint?”  Christiansen tells us that a saint is one who lives a life of integrity, a person who lives his/her life with such a thoroughgoing goodness that is seems to exceed all deliberate human effort.  In other words, we cannot make a saint of a person simply because they spend all their time on their knees while refusing to speak kindly of their enemies or, we cannot think of being a saint simply because we obey the commandments but refuse to consider taking positive action in situations where it would be humanly possible. 

    As Christians we have the obligation to strive toward complete conversion.  It may take us a lifetime but we cannot forget that there is still an eternity to follow.  Perhaps we could take some time this month to reflect on those areas in our life that still need conversion.  Remembering that we are not alone in this endeavor is most encouraging.  Let God be God!

                                    Lorette P. Nault