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Role Models

The battle between good and evil is a reality in life. Superheroes, even though they might be fictional, remind us that there are magnanimous beings who help us triumph over evil. They also inspire us to find the superhero in each of us.

When I went to Moscow a few months back, I got the chance to watch Spiderman on the big screen. Spiderman is one of the fictional characters looked up to by the young, both by those in age and at heart. 

The Cambridge online dictionary defines a superhero as: (1) a character in a film or story who has special strength and uses it to do good things and help other people (2) someone who has done something very brave to help someone else. 

The good news is, there are real-life superheroes. The saints have led virtuous, exemplary lives. They remind us that God’s love can win over sin and strife. During my latest trip abroad, I was blessed to have visited the churches in which certain saints were buried. I went to the tombs of St. Francis and St. Claire. They both gave up comfortable lives to surrender themselves to God fully and to serve the poor in peaceful and selfless ways.

I also saw the incorrupt bodies of St. Padre Pio and St. Rafaela. Padre Pio endured the gift of the stigmata. The Lord gave him the experience of His wounds which would bleed every time Padre Pio would preside over the Holy Mass. St. Rafaela founded the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She underwent many interior sufferings as the foundress, but remained meek and submissive to God. It was amazing enough to see that their bodies did not rot over the years, as if they were just sleeping! 

In the Philippines, wheelchair-bound teen Darwin Ramos, who died years ago, is on the path to sainthood. He was declared Servant of God. Despite his myopathy, he dedicated himself to serving street children, and offered his sickness for those who were suffering. 

Honestly, it seems to be very difficult to follow the footsteps of the saints. Oftentimes, our pride gets in the way. We find hardships unsettling. I sense the “secret” of the saints was their humility. No, they were not perfect, but they let the grace of God into their lives. I read a Facebook post which quotes St. John Climacus: “Humility is the only thing that no devil can imitate.”

With the help of these role models, we can live in a way that pleases God and lifts others from their tribulations. Let us ask for the intercession of these saints so that we may grow closer to the Lord and we may increase in our love for Him and for our neighbors. 

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