I wanted to expand my thoughts a bit on the gift we have in the saints. A point that needs to be very clear is that the saints were not given some divine strength to endure and persevere through their callings, they were human – just as human as you or I. What they did have, that unfortunately, I believe many of us lack (especially in our self-centred culture) is faith in something greater than themselves. They trusted that their lives were meant to serve a greater purpose than self-indulgence and the pursuit of personal happiness and comfort. The saints believed they were contributing to something much more awesome than that, something immeasurably more important. And so they carried on through the hard times, the seemingly impossible times, the physically painful times – not because they had supernatural powers easing the journey but because they trusted in the mission.
We all have the potential to be saints. In fact, the Catholic Church claims that at Baptism, when our original sin is wiped away, we are saints. It’s as we grow up and are influenced by the imperfect nature of this world that we become more selfish and weak-willed. However, this isn’t negative, it’s simply the nature of being free. The change back to sainthood has to be our own personal choice, we have to knowingly turn away from the hedonistic lifestyle sold to us by popular society and accept another way. The paradox lies in realizing that the joy, the reparation of our broken hearts we ultimately seek, is a gift we receive when we choose to follow Christ, the path of selfless love. All of the time we spend trying to fill our aching selves up with earthly pleasures is in vain. I think this is something the saints realized and it is the fuel that kept them going. Once we commit to serving God through loving our neighbour, we are blessed with the interior space through which joy can surface. The space is key because without it there’s no room for true happiness, for inner peace.
So how to de we choose to live as the saints did? Well, initially there very well be a period of “fake it ’til you make it.” The important thing is to start making space for God. Express your longing for inner peace and then sit quietly everyday and listen, it’s as simple as that. Trust that your prayer will be answered and stay the course.
“Express your longing for inner peace and then sit quietly everyday and listen…”