There is always this question among Christians if one can become a saint in this present age that is clustered with all sorts of evil and unprecedented godlessness. Many of us believe that the age of the saints has come and gone, and that it is practically impossible to become a saint amidst all the distractions brought about by modernism and materialism. How wrong we are when we think this way. Surely you and I can still be saints.
The journey to
sainthood, as difficult as it is or may seem, becomes easy and enjoyable when we apply the right formulas that
have worked for the saints of the old.
To begin the journey towards sainthood, we must first of all have a clear definition of the word saint. Whenever the question of defining the saints comes up, the faithful usually come up with lots of answers. Some would say that the saints are holy people who are proclaimed saints by the church because of their holiness. Others would describe the saints as people who lived very rigorous lives while they were on earth. There are uncountable definitions of the word saint and sainthood. However, all or most of the definitions are right in one way or another but, there is a definition that helps simplify the sainthood and makes it a bit easy for us to understand, and at the same time gives us the green light to begin the journey right from the place we are right now. The simplest and most accurate way of defining a saint is that; a saint is a person who does ordinary things in extraordinary ways. This is the definition that lifted me out of the wrong notion that sainthood is almost impossible here and now. Saints are everyday people like you and I who do ordinary things in extraordinary ways.
HOW DO WE BEGIN THE JOURNEY TO SAINTHOOD?
The first step to the journey towards sainthood begins by desiring to be a saint. The next is to understand
who the saints are and what made them the saints they are. How do we find out what made the saints become saints? In the ordinary course of life, we tend to learn from people who have become successful in the field or profession we are aspiring to. For example, a student who wishes to become a successful lawyer would avail himself the opportunity to read biographies and autobiographies of renowned successful lawyers. The same applies to students who wish to become successful in other fields of professionalism; they read things about those who have excelled in the same field they are aspiring to. To begin a journey towards sainthood, reading books written on the lives of the saints is highly indispensable. It is from these books that I discovered what I am about to reveal to you about the saints which I refer to as 'the two secrets of the saints'
THE TWO SECRETS OF THE SAINTS.
Having read many books on the lives of the saints, I discovered that each saint has something unique about his or her life. As they aspire to holiness, they indulge in various spiritual exercises like, long hours in prayer, mortifications and abstinence of different kinds and degrees, and take to rigorous ways of lives distancing themselves from luxury and excessive comfort. Despite the unique ways in which individual saints lived their lives, there are two things that bear similarities in the lives of the whole saints, namely; their remarkable act of charity and their ardent devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. These are the two things that are prominent in the lives of the saints. As we go on, we will break down these two spiritual acts and discuss how they will help us in achieving our dreams of becoming saints.
WORKS OF MERCY
Let us begin with the act of charity. The church divided charity into two parts and named them the works of mercy. We have the corporal works of mercy and the spiritual works of mercy. Here I want to emphasize on the corporal works of mercy.
There are seven corporal works of mercy namely; to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, to visit the sick, to visit the imprisoned and to bury the dead. The corporal works of mercy took its basis in the Gospel of St. Matthew where Jesus teaches the criteria for the last judgment. If we must begin a journey towards sainthood, we must adopt the corporal works of mercy as a way of life. All the saints walked this part. There is no exception. We must follow the same way, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned and bury the dead. We might not find the opportunity to do all, but we must pick at least one of these seven and begin to do it out of pure Christian love. That is the way to find true joy. ¨Truly I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me¨.
DEVOTION TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN
The devotions the saints havefor the Mother of God is said to be immeasurable. They love the Blessed Mother so much that all the saints marvel at the mention of the name of Mary. They so understand the role of The Blessed Virgin in the salvation of man that they abandon themselves totally to Our Lady to lead them to the final destination; heaven.
Mary is the Queen of All Saints! Well, if Our Blessed Mother is the Queen of All Saints, how else could you describe the high esteem in which the saints hold Her? Did you know that total abandonment of ourselves in the hands of Mother mary is the surest way to eternal happiness in heaven? Mary is chosen by God to be the dispenser of all the graces from God to man. Do you doubt that? OK, let us help clear the doubts.
We believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world. After the fall of our first parents Adam and Eve, God promised to send His only son to come and die in order to set humanity free from everlasting death. Jesus the Savior is generally agreed by Christians to be the greatest gift God has given to the world. This amazing inestimable gift of God, Jesus, the second person of the Blessed Trinity, was sent to the world through the Blessed Virgin Mary. What else do we have to say? Mary carried the Son of God in Her womb. Mary nurtured Jesus from the time of birth to adulthood. Jesus submitted Himself to Mary until he was thirty years of age?
Have you heard about the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee? Did you remember what happened at the wedding feast? Jesus turned water into wine. That was Jesus' first mirracle of nature. Mary asked that the miracle be done.
Jesus carried out His first miracle even when His time for miracles had not come. He had no other option but to perform the miracle because it is the Queen of Heaven who advocated for it. Did you know that the original will of God was that Jesus' time for miracles had not reached? But, the Almighty Father changed His perfect will in order to honor the humble request of His well-beloved Daughter. God does the same today. It has never changed. God acts when Mary asks. This is why the saints wrap themselves around Our Blessed Mother. Since they thirst for heaven, and desire so much to see God and be with God when they have departed the earth, they have no other option than to cling to the Mother of God.
Mary is the perfect mold that formed Jesus from womb to adulthood. She is the same mold that molded all the saints. Do you still want to be a saint? Wrap yourself around Mary. Parcel yourself up and hand all to Mary. She is the surest way to eternal joy in heaven. Our Lady will lead us to Jesus safely if we submit all to Her. Mary Queen of the Universe, Pray for us!
...the method of prayer that works most.
Many of us have the same problems in our spiritual journeys; not knowing exactly what to pray for and praying without seeing what appear to be answers to our prayers. A lot of times, when we kneel down to pray, we have lots of intentions scattered all over our mind and we do not know where to begin. Our own needs, those of our mother, father, brothers, sisters, husband, wife, good friends, our vocation, education, our future, our eternity, etc. It has been like that with a lot of us at certain times in our prayer lives. It was like that with me until I discovered the method of prayer that works most.
The method of prayer that works most
It is as simple as A B C, when I wake up each morning, before I get out of bed, in a short prayer, I offer to Our Lady all my actions of the day; my prayers, my good work, my labors, my sufferings, my joy and all the merits of my labour, and I ask Her to use all for Her special intentions. Just like the businessman did, I give all to Her not keeping one to myself. I leave out my own personal intention; I offer every prayer during the day for the intentions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. That sounds kind of difficult. Sure, it appears to be the craziest thing to do, one not mentioning his own needs any longer even when he has impending needs. Though I sometimes selfishly squeez in my intention, believe it or not, offering all to Mary s the method of prayer that works most.
Mary, Queen of All Saints, Pray for us!