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Saintliness Is Not For Me?

In this month of November we remember particularly the lives of saints. They are examples of those who have shown that despite their own frailties, God has saved, transformed and called them to His fullness of life and everlasting happiness.

Does everyone desire holiness? Before we quickly reply with a resounding “yes”, let us look at two perspectives of the word “holiness.” The popular online dictionary, Merriam-Webster.com, writes that to be holy means, “exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness” and “having a divine quality.” The Catholic Encyclopedia, edited by Robert Broderick, points out that holiness is “a degree of union with God through sanctifying grace and the performance of morally good acts.”

Perhaps we do not murder people or engage in sexual promiscuity, but it is not easy to always seek God’s will. For example, to love someone who has hurt us very much, feels like a tall order. To refrain from quickly judging others or from losing our temper in the midst of heavy traffic is quite challenging. To be patient with difficult personalities in our families, in community life or at work could be daunting. Perhaps in real life, we find ourselves constantly asking for forgiveness in the confessional box for failing in these areas. 

We may find it hard to imitate the examples of the saints, but we are surely called to love God with all our hearts, souls, and with all our minds (Matthew 22:37), not because God just wants all the attention, but in His wisdom and magnanimous love, He knows that only union with Him will truly make us completely joyful. 

Common to the saints as they struggled with their own failures, are humility and their openness to God’s sanctifying grace. We cannot achieve union with God on our own. We need His help, His graces, gifts He freely gives to us. But we need to choose to cooperate with these graces and to firmly believe that He wants what is best for us. 

Saintliness is an invitation for all of us. Let us be thankful that we have role models and inspirations who have shown that despite their own frailties, God has saved, transformed and called them to His fullness of life and everlasting happiness. Let us ask them to intercede for us so that we may experience God’s Kingdom even while on earth and one day, we too may meet them in heaven. 

St. Augustine, who led a very confused and wayward life before he gave himself entirely to God, uttered, “My heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.” Whatever blocks our relationship with God, let us turn these over to Him as we allow Him to heal us, make us whole, and holy. 


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