Sainthood: It's Not Just for Priests and Nuns

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Me, a saint?


I’m too flawed for that. Sainthood is for someone else. A priest or a nun, probably. The pope, definitely. Someone whose feathers never get ruffled, who floats on this serene prayer-cloud 24/7, hands folded, eyes closed, rosary beads clutched. Someone who serves the poor in third-world countries, who gets martyred at a young age.

Sainthood is for someone perfect.

And me? I’m so far from perfect. I’m so imperfect that to desire holiness seems at best unattainable and at worst hypocritical. I hold grudges. I get selfish and prideful and impatient and jealous and judgey. Sure, I can try to be a vaguely “good person”, but even that is a struggle sometimes. There’s something about the word “saint” that just makes me feel like I’m taking it too far, like I’m showing up to a party I wasn’t invited to, with all my brazen sinfulness in tow.

Only… I was invited to the party. At Baptism. And the incredible thing about the invitation issued to me then is that it didn’t come with a dress code, or the request to bring something to add to the potluck. It only asked for me, and my open heart.

And so it occurs to me that a holy life, a saintly life, is less about achieving spiritual perfection or unblemished piety (because let’s face it, those things are impossible anyway), and more about something far, far simpler:

Showing up.

It’s about us, showing up with a desire to lead a holy life, and believing that God can work wonders with that honest intention.

And secondly, it’s about letting God show up for us. It’s about letting Him in to all of our small, ordinary moments, both joyful and sorrowful, trying and triumphant, mundane and magical. It’s about asking God to be present in our words when we speak, our minds when we think, our hearts when we struggle to love. It’s about offering up individual moments as sacrifices and asking God to transform them – and us – with the gift of His grace.

And to do that, God doesn’t need our perfection.

He only needs our “yes.”

Photo Credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales) Flickr via Compfight cc

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