Thursday, October 3, 2013

Living and Dying to Become a Saint - Toolbox for Sainthood

By Kristen M. Soley

What is a saint? 

Can you name some saints, maybe your patron saint? 

What words come to mind when you hear the word saint?  Holy, loving, martyr, generous, brave, selfless, virtuous, etc.

Miriam Webster defines Saint as:

·         “One officially recognized especially through canonization as preeminent for holiness

·         One of the spirits of the departed in heaven

·         One eminent for piety or virtue”

To be considered a Canonized Saint in the Catholic Church the following criteria must be met:

·          Demonstration of having lived heroic virtues (Chastity, temperance, charity,  diligence, patience, kindness, humility)

·         Two miracles through the saint’s intercession and/or

·         Martyrdom

Are all the Saints the same?  No.  Each lived a completely different life, within the parameters of his/her own vocation.  St. Monica was called to be a wife and mother; St. Nicholas and St. Patrick were called to the priesthood, St. Joan of Arc, unmarried, Blessed Mother Teresa, sisterhood. Etc.

Who, Me?

Who is called to be a saint?  All of us are called to be saints.   

We may not be called to lead battles such as St. Joan of Arc or teach, preach and die martyrs such as Sts. Peter and Paul, or to heroic charity such as St. Nicholas and Blessed Mother Teresa.

Your path to sainthood may be discovered, one diaper at a time, one load of laundry load at a time,  one web site at a time, one patient at a time, one lesson plan at a time, one sale at a time, or one customer at a time, etc.  

God wants to meet each of us right where we are.  We need not start today with taking on some huge ministry or making any great sacrifices.  You are right where He wants you and this is where He will meet you.  

Chances are good, if you are reading this, God has entrusted you with the privilege and responsibility of bringing little souls to Him as a parent, likely through the vocation of marriage.   Yes, being a Mom and / or a Dad is just as much a call to sainthood or holiness if you will, as being called to the priesthood, sisterhood or brotherhood.  In fact, if God has called you to being a parent, it is the best and most sure path to sainthood for you. 

My family understands this call, and that each of us plays an instrumental role in getting each other to heaven (sainthood).  God hand-picked my husband and me to lead our children back to Him in an eternal family, with His grace of course.  Furthermore, He hand-picked each of our children to help get their siblings and us to heaven.  

In a family comprised of parents, children, and siblings, there is enough love, sacrifice, suffering, and service to make great saints.  If any of you have cleaned a baby and their crib after he took off a dirty diaper during nap time, or endured the flu, where, as my friend Teri calls the war cry “Hit the bucket!” you understand. 

With this in mind, our family ends our morning-prayer time by asking the question “What’s our mission?”  To which we all reply “…to get each other to Heaven!”  Then we ask “What are we going to do today to get each other to heaven?”  The typical responses are, “be kind and share, give right-away obedience, build up the Kingdom of God, do the right thing even when it’s difficult, and to be gentle.”  Then we close by all putting our hands in, team-style, and yell “Go team Soley!” 

Called to Sainthood, but I am a sinner?

Yes, yup, and me too…  We need God; with a capital N.  My confessor explained that we all suffer from the human condition, which is a tendency to sin.   We are prone to sin and are constantly fighting this tendency.

Even St. Peter, the first Pope, the rock upon whom our Church was built, denied Christ on Good Friday.  He was weak, a sinner.   It took him, along with many of the saints that followed him, time to trust God, to truly surrender all to Him.  We are no different.

St. Augustine lived the first 29 years of his life a non-Christian, living for the world.  St. Edith Stein was an Atheist before converting to Catholicism.  St. Frances of Assisi was the life of the party.  My point?  Were these saints always perfect?  Did they sin? 

God continues to give us examples of the sinners; the weak, who, with the gift of faith, and God’s grace, overcome their faults and weaknesses.  They become great in the kingdom.  All these saints were just like us.

In Mark 2:17 Jesus assures us, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." 

Jesus came to heal the sick.  He came to heal us. 

You might say “My sin is too great.  God could never forgive me.”  As my spiritual director assured me, “God is relentlessly pursuing us and loves us dearly!”  His love for us is greater than our sins, as Jesus shared with St. Faustina.

Let me demonstrate how God’s love for us does not change, even when we sin.   This is how I taught my children.  I placed a crucifix on a table and stood facing Jesus.  I then explained that “Let’s say I commit a venial sin, maybe I lie or tease somebody.”  I then took a step away from the crucifix, still facing Jesus.  Then, I said “Now I commit another venial sin.  Perhaps, I hit my sibling.”  I took a larger step away from Jesus, still facing Him.  “The more venial sins I commit, the easier it becomes for me to offend Him with sin and, thus I then commit a mortal sin; a grave sin.”  I then took a large step away from Jesus AND turned my back to him, now facing away from Him.

The point of this lesson is who moved, Jesus or the sinner?  

Just like the greatest of saints, God never left them.  They, for a time, turned their back on Him, but came back!  They asked for forgiveness and were lovingly welcomed back into God’s loving embrace. 

A great example of this is the prodigal son.  In Luke 15, in verse 20 we read how the Father receives his son, who had moved out and squandered his inheritance in a sinful existence.  Broke and homeless, this son returns to his father for forgiveness and a place to live “But while he [his son] was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.  He threw a grand celebration for his son’s return. 

That is exactly how God feels when we return to him, when we ask for forgiveness.  He is simply waiting for us to turn around and come back.  He will meet us, with a loving embrace.  He has never left us and has been anxiously awaiting our return. 

So yes, me, but how? 

Do you remember your Catechism?  St. Joseph’s Baltimore Catechism! 

According to the New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism, God made us to “Show forth His goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness in heaven.”  And in order to gain the happiness of heaven [sainthood] we must “know, love, and serve God in this world.” 

·         Know

·         Love

·         Serve

So that’s it!  All we have to do is know, love and serve God within the parameters of our vocation to become a saint?  Sound simple? It is, but it is not easy; it is, in fact heroic! 

Know God - Knowledge of God

Speaking for my husband and me, we really started “getting to know Him” within the last eleven years of our lives.

Many of you may have a story similar to ours.

I am going to flashback 30 years…  Yes, my husband and I were both catechized, through the Catholic Church’s CCD program in our home towns:

o   The programs were good and the volunteers all were sincere. 

o   We learned what was needed to receive the Sacraments. 

o   We memorized the prayers and truths without seeing how they are employed in daily life. 

o   We did this, simply because “that’s what you do.”

o   It was good, not bad, but it didn’t stick. 

 Is that your experience as well?

This lack of really knowing God, made it easy for us to stop going to Church in our college years.

Two years after Nathan and I were married, we baptized our first child, Andrew.  Up to that point we had been going to church when it was convenient for us, but were always grateful when we went. 

 Nevertheless, we decided we should go to Mass more regularly after he was baptized because our parents always brought us when we were young, we just promised we would at his baptism, and  Andrew was baptized in front of the entire congregation at our church and now people knew who we were and might notice our not being there.

We began to hear God calling us, and decided to bring Him back into our lives.  We agreed that we wanted to get to know Him.  We chose to give Him a simple Yes to His constant call.  When we did this, he began to transform us.  He has answered so many prayers and has proven His unending love for us, time and again.  It is said that God cannot be outdone in generosity.   We have found this to be indisputable. 

OK…  So, how can we really, really, get to know God?  I have some good news!  Getting to know Him is not difficult.  He is, as I mentioned earlier, “relentlessly pursuing us all of the time.”  The trick is, being open and available for Him, to let Him in!

The best way to do this is to invite Him; ask him to come into your heart.   Before each of our children receives their First Holy Communion, we encourage them to formally invite our Lord into their lives, personally.   They sign, date, and frame a card with a simple prayer that personally asks Jesus to come into their heart.

If you would like to get to know God, this is the place to start.  Click this link to print a commitment card.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Please come into my heart, and be the Lord of MY LIFE.  

Be my God and my Savior.

Please send me your Holy Spirit to make me your disciple.

Thank you for giving up your life for me.  

Now I give my life to you.

   Again this is the best place to start getting to know our Lord.

What about Love?

Back to my trusty Baltimore Catechism, love is defined as “to want only what is good for another.”1   Love as a virtue is defined as “the theological virtue which makes us able to love God above all things and our neighbor for the love of God.”1  

We know Love is one of the three Theological virtues (faith, hope and love).  In 1 Corinthians 13 and 16 St. Paul teaches, “…the greatest of these is love… Let all that you do be done in love.”

It is not what we do, but how and why we do them, that make them great.  If we do all things for love of God, they will be great; for the Kingdom, for our families, for us, for all whom are affected by our actions.    It is one thing to wash the floor, and altogether another to wash the floor for love of Him.  We can spend our entire day loving God through our actions and through those whom God has placed on our path.             

You can love God through your spouse, your child, your co-worker or the person at the checkout.  You can do this, simply by choosing to love, even if your friend was short with you, or your child accidentally broke the DVD player, or the checkout lady was grumpy.   Choosing love is always the best solution.  Remember, love is a choice.  Love begets love and when you respond lovingly you spread a heavenly fragrance, a reminder of Jesus’ love, everywhere you go.  

Some of the best advice I received regarding love is to assume everybody’s motivation is for good, not evil.  You would want people to assume the same of you, wouldn’t you?  Even Jesus on the cross in Luke 23:34 assumed the high priests and scribes “knew not what they were doing” as He begged His father to forgive them. 

You have no idea why the checkout lady was grumpy; maybe her child was just diagnosed with cancer or her husband just lost his job.  Maybe your friend was short with you, because her child was bullied at school that morning.  Maybe your child broke the DVD player, trying to help a younger sibling remove a toy he jammed in there.  Assume the best in people, Jesus did, even those who were responsible for horrific death. 

Watch how the people around you begin to respond when you employ this new outlook.  As I said, love begets love.  Imagine if your spouse asked you to do something, and it was a very important thing.  You had fully intended to do so, but right when you began this task, you could not find the tools to do it.  Then when you did find the tools, you sat down to begin the task at hand.  Suddenly the doorbell rings, a friend stops by to drop off that kitchen gadget she borrowed.  After this friend leaves, your toddler falls and scrapes his knee, followed by an argument between the two oldest children.  At this point your spouse walks in the door, asking if the requested item is complete. 

How would you feel if, upon learning that you were unable to finish the task, he/she assumed you tried your best, but something must have happened, in lieu of assuming that you disregarded their wishes?  You would be relieved, yes?  Now look at it the other way, what if when your spouse learns that you did not complete the task, without even asking why it was not complete, simply assumes it was a complete disregard for his / her wishes and storms out of the room?  You are likely going to be crabby with them, the children, and pretty much everybody else you encounter, for the rest of the day.  Again, love begets love and it is a choice.

There are many ways to live out Love of Lord.  Try lovingly greeting your family first thing in the morning, even if they wake up earlier than you would have liked, or smiling, even when it is difficult.  Try speaking in a soft and gentle voice, when you’d really rather scream at your spouse or children.  Try overlooking a fault of your spouse or child, if this fault does not endanger their soul.  In lieu of pointing out a fault, compliment them on something they do well.

When you begin to embrace every part of your day with this outlook, each task, each encounter becomes more joyful and easier, even the difficult ones.  Jesus teaches in Matthew 11:30 “My yoke is easy and my burden light.”  

Love begets love. 

In our home, we begin every day with a short prayer to help us center our daily activities on love of God: 

“Dear Lord, I will work for love you, pray for love of you, and play for love of you.  My whole day will be a loving prayer.”

If you can start your day by deciding that all you do is for love of our Good God, everything becomes more meaningful, and even the hard things become less difficult.

St. Therese of the Child Jesus - Doctor of the Church and Greatest saint of modern times wrote, "I know of no other means to reach perfection than by love. To love: how perfectly our hearts are made for this! Sometimes I look for another word to use, but, in this land of exile, no other word so well expresses the vibrations of our soul. Hence we must keep to that one word: love." 

"Merit does not consist in doing or giving much. It consists in loving much."

As Blessed Mother Teresa said, “We cannot do great things, but we can do small things with great love." 

She also said, “Spread love everywhere you go first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.  Be the living expression of God’s kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.”

Serve -  “…To serve God is the primary obligation of human beings, personally and socially, to be done in acts of worship and prayer; and in acts of virtue as prescribed by the natural and revealed laws of God.” 3

The best teaching I have learned on service is through Blessed Mother Teresa.  She was taught by her mother, while holding up her hand she explained, ‘The Gospel in five fingers’ – “You did it to Me”.4  Each word represents one finger. 1.You 2. Did 3. It 4 To 5. Me. This is taken from Matthew 25:40 “…'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”

We are His hands and feet, here in this land of exile, such that He can love through us; through our love and service.  When we serve others, remember whom you are serving.  You Did It To Me!

Try seeing Jesus in everybody God has placed on your path.  Would you yell at Jesus?  Would you cut Jesus off on the highway? Would you wish your house messy if Jesus were to visit?  Would you look at inappropriate things online if Jesus were standing behind you?  Would you serve yourself before Jesus at your dinner table? Jesus is in everybody, even you and me. 

Remember “You did it to ME.” 

Your sainthood toolbox:

Now that you know what a saint is, that you are called to be one, and the path you need to follow, knowing, loving, and serving God, you will need your sainthood toolbox.  The following is not a complete list of tools, nor are they in perfect order of importance, but I did my best to highlight them as they have guided me on my own journey. 

Tool #1 – Faith –  In Hebrews 11:1 we learn that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  You can neither know, love, nor serve a God that you do not believe in.

As Pope Francis assures us, “We do not become Christians in the laboratory, we do not become Christians alone, and with our own strength, but faith is a gift, it is a gift of God that is given to us in the Church and through the Church.” 

If you do not have faith, remember it is a gift, pray for it.  If your faith is not strong, pray for an increase in the gift of faith, daily.
Jesus said to St Faustina “…But for Me to be able to act upon the soul, the soul must have faith. “(1420) --St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in my Soul

Tool #2 - Holy SpiritOh the Holy Spirit - my friend.   
Earlier in my faith journey, I was struggling, a lot; with sins that seemed impossible for me to overcome.   Try as I may, I could not prevail.   Nine days before the Pentecost Sunday, years ago, I began a novena to the Holy Spirit (which is now my battle cry to which I turn in times of need).   It starts like this:

“Dearest Holy Spirit, confiding in your deep personal love for me, I am making this novena for the following request if it be Your Holy Will to grant it. __________________ ..." 

Well, my request was to overcome sin, so I had confidence that it would be His Holy Will. 

I continued to pray this novena for my specific intention long after Pentecost Sunday (more like a perpetual novena), with absolute faith.  As God promised, one day, I no longer had attachment to the particular sin of my prayer; truly.  After years, and years of struggling, God took it away… because I believed, and I asked.   He has proven His faithfulness to me in this way, time and time again.

The Holy Spirit also sustains us in our vocation, on this pilgrimage back to Him.  As much joy as we find in our call to parenthood, there too is suffering (worthwhile, but suffering nonetheless)… We are busy parents with busy children, who are perfectly behaved for their age.  In Luke 9:23 we are reminded to “…take up our crosses daily and follow Him.” That is the path to sainthood, and it is built in to our vocation; little children, little worries, big children, big worries.  

A great confessor once said “as a parent, we ought not to seek out crosses or sacrifices, as we have many that are built in to our vocation.”  We love, and because of this great love for our children, we do suffer.   We suffer when they are rejected, when they make bad choices, when they get hurt; again, we have crosses. 

Many saints have found that with faith and the Holy Spirit, their crosses become lighter and even sweet.  We are assured, as the Baltimore Catechism instructs “He sends us our daily crosses so that we can walk in the footsteps of love after Christ, our Good Shepherd.  It is the Holy Spirit Who gives us the power to carry these crosses and even to love them.” 1

Tool #3 – The Church and Sacraments – I once read that the path to heaven (sainthood) can be likened to climbing a mountain.  Similar to our climb up this precipitous and daunting incline, we will become weary, thirsty, and may even lose hope.  To overcome these obstacles we need things like water (sacraments), rest (prayer), and to remain focused on our goal (hope).  The sacraments are a panacea, or remedy in our climb to holiness. 

Receiving Jesus in the Eucharist is a wonderful sacrament.  However, God does not require us to go to daily mass; He only requires that we go on the Sabbath.   Our vocation at times does not even afford for us to attend daily Mass.   What matters most is that, if God makes the time in your schedule to go, go.  If not, not.  Go to Mass on the Sabbath and to daily Mass as often as you can. 

As St. Frances of Rome says, “A married woman must leave God at the altar to find Him in her domestic cares.”  Your home can and should become your domestic church.   If you cannot go to daily Mass, find Him in your home; that is where He would like to meet you.

The sacrament of reconciliation is also a powerful and grace-filled sacrament.  I really struggled with going to confession early on.  I figured, “why should I confess my sins to a priest if I can go straight to Jesus.”  
Francine Morrisette provided a good answer “Catholics do ultimately confess their sins to God because God is the only one who can forgive sins. The priest is simply a human extension of Christ’s priestly ministry.  He is a human intermediary who hears and forgives sins on His behalf.” 2

In John 20:23 Jesus taught his apostles “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”   This is a tradition that we Catholics honor.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church also affirms this “Since Christ entrusted to his apostles the ministry of reconciliation, bishops who are their successors, and priests, the bishops' collaborators, continue to exercise this ministry. Indeed bishops and priests, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, have the power to forgive all sins "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." CCC 1461

We try to receive this sacrament monthly, if God wills it.  Every time leave we chuckle about how white and clean our souls are… and to my husband I privately say… now if I can just avoid the going home I will remain sin free for longer!

Morrisette also explains “Confession/Reconciliation is the sacrament of conversion and forgiveness; it gives peace, pardon, and a new beginning to the one who receives it.”  2

Holy Matrimony is also a powerful sacrament.  The sacrament of Holy Matrimony is the only sacrament that is administered by the couple rather than the priest or bishop. Holy Matrimony is a covenant between a man and a woman whereby they give their free consent to enter a covenantal partnership that is permanent. The marriage, "by its nature is ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring."(CCC1601)

My confessor put it perfectly.  In our marriages, each of us brings such different, but complimentary gifts into our homes. We, as wives are to respect and honor our husband’s judgment in matters of the head. Our husband, in turn, should respect and honor our judgment in matters of the heart.

God works through our spouse as a channel of grace for us, and we wives, in turn, are a channel of grace for our husbands.  As I mentioned earlier, our spouses were hand-picked by God to lead our families to heaven.  If God trusts them, we should too. 

I encourage you to hold your spouse in prayer, daily.  Wives, feel free to join me and  many wives in a virtual prayer group for our husbands.  I Promise to Be True

Tool #4 – Mary – Mary, my Mother (and yours)!  I am humbled to admit, that even as a life-long Catholic, I spent much of my life not having a real comprehension of why Mary is to be honored as she is, and why she is so important in our walk with Christ. I could not even defend her to my protestant brothers and sisters when asked why we Catholics “pray to her.” 

I gained understanding in Holy Scripture.  In Exodus 20:12 God commands "Honor your father and your mother.”   Well, if Mary is Jesus’ Mother, He must have honored her.  In 1st Corinthians, 11:1 St. Paul encourages us to live as Jesus lived.  Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.  Jesus honored Mary, thus we too are called to honor her.

With confidence, we are able to receive Mary as our mother.  In the Gospel according to John (19: 26-27), during his crucifixion, Jesus addresses his Mother “Woman, behold your son.”  Then he said to the disciple “behold your Mother.”  As Catholics, we believe in that statement from the cross, Jesus gave Mary to us, as our Mother and gave us to her as her children (to care for us, guide us and love us as our Mother and for her to care for our souls as her children).

For many of us, our biggest struggle with our walk with Christ is our inability to totally surrender our will to His Divine Will. Mary could.  Her yes, or fiat, brought us our Savior.

We should pray daily to be the parent that Mary was; patient, humble, obedient, and disciplined.  She is an example we should truly desire to follow in our walk with Christ; to have the faith to say yes no matter what the circumstances.  She said yes knowing that to be pregnant, “betrothed to Joseph, but not living with him yet,” often times resulted in stoning; she could have been killed for her obedience.  

If we could be that obedient and surrender our will to God’s as she did, imagine the parent and partner we could be and the beautiful service to our extended family and community, all to glorify God and His Kingdom.  

A local priest recently shared this wisdom of Mary in his homily, "We can't lover her too much.  We love her correctly when we love her as much as her son, Jesus Christ."

Tool #5  – St. Joseph – The picture of obedience.  St. Joseph did not speak one word in Holy Scripture.  It is not his words that are to inspire us; it is his prompt and humble obedience to the Will of God.

In Matthew 1:24 Joseph learns that Mary is pregnant, out of wedlock and decides to privately divorce her.  In his sleep an angel appears to him and assures him that this child is of God, verse 23 “to be called “Emmanuel, which translated means, “God with us.” 24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife… and he called His name Jesus.

Later on, In Matthew 2:13-14 we find the Holy Family asleep and “An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.’”  What does Joseph do?  In verse 14 “So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt.”

This example is to highlight the kind of man chosen as Jesus’ foster father.  Joseph was selected by God himself and foretold in scripture to come from the line of David.   This is the kind of man God called to lead the Holy Family.  This is the kind of man called to lead our families.

Tool #6 -  Prayer & Obedience –

Prayer is to our soul what rain is to the soil. Fertilize the soil ever so richly; it will remain barren unless fed by frequent rains.” -- St John Vianney

How often do you talk to your best friend?  Mine is my husband, so, usually all day long (via phone, text, and of course in person before and after work). 

You cannot have a close relationship with God unless you both talk with and listen to Him.  This conversation is simply called ‘prayer.’  

The Bible – “Bible before breakfast and bible before bed;” start with the Gospels.  If the goal is sainthood (and it is), the answer to every questions lies with these amazing pages.  I started with the book of Matthew, years back and made that a key part to my Lenten prayer.  I have since made the Gospels the center of my morning prayers.   

The Rosary – In 1917, in Fatima Portugal, Mary instructed three young children, “Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world.”  There are also special graces that accompany those who pray the rosary.  

Years ago, when I was working outside the home, I started praying the rosary in my car.  I bought a rosary CD from Lighthouse Catholic Ministries and could follow along very easily and it was incredibly efficient!  I later happened upon a great booklet entitled “Let’s pray the rosary, not just say the rosary.”   I gained a great love for the rosary as a result of both of these great resources.

Obedience is a result of having heard God’s will for you, through prayer and… here comes the hard part - doing it!  In Luke 8:21 Jesus enlightens the crowd, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it." 

“We must do the will of the Father, keep our bodies pure, and observe the commandments of the Lord, for this is the way to obtain eternal life”.  -- Sermon of the second century

It would be far more fun to read a great book or check email, than iron a shirt or clean the ceiling fan blades. Nevertheless, we are called to obey within the duties of our vocation.  Acts of obedience glorify God and please Him greatly.  As Jesus told St. Faustina “My daughter, know that "You give Me greater glory by a single act of obedience, than by long prayers and [sacrifices].

Tool #7 – Eucharistic Adoration – Spending quiet time alone with Jesus can be very transformative.   

I did not even know there was such a thing until I attended a Steubenville Youth Conference in 2002. Eucharistic Adoration is a gift; a true treasure in our Catholic faith.

Remember Jesus came for us, for the sinners, and remains with us in the Eucharist to sustain us until we meet Him again in an eternal family.  Again, Jesus taught us, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."  (Mark 2:17)  We are the sinners, He came for us.  Give Him your worries, troubles, sickness.  Spend time with Him and place these things at His feet “…for My yoke is easy and My burden is light."  (Matthew 11:30)

I have spent countless hours with Jesus, both in front of the tabernacle, as well as in an Adoration Chapel.   During these hours, I either pray the Stations of the Cross, the rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, read the lives of saints or other spiritual reading.  Sometimes I just sit with Him.   I always bring my troubles to Him and He consoles me in some way, but typically nothing extraordinary.

However, I had worked outside the home until our fourth child was to be born (Charlie).  My husband and I agreed that I would no longer work outside the home and be a stay-at-home Mom.

I was afraid that I would not do a good job; terrified really.  I lacked patience.  I stopped in at the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel, on my way to my contract, and wept. Entreating Jesus, I told Him,”I can’t do this; I am scared I will not do a good job with these precious gifts you have given me!”

Jesus approached me and He laid his hands on my head and gently spoke.  He said “You are right, you cannot do it alone, but with Me you can.”

As Blessed John Paul II assures us “Jesus in the Eucharist … remains with us sacramentally to travel with us along our ways, so that with His power, we can cope with our problems, our toil, our suffering. – International Eucharistic Congress 1980, John Paul II 4

There are many local parishes that have daily, weekly, and even perpetual adoration available.  At St. Mary’s in Waverly we have adoration 24 hours per day Monday – Friday. 

I have included a link for more information about Jesus' real presence in the Eucharistic - The Real Presence.

 “He [Jesus] is in our midst, He dwells with us, full of grace and truth. He restores morality, nourishes virtues, consoles afflicted and strengthens the weak.” Pope Paul

Tool # 8  The prayer of quiet Turn off the TV, music, Facebook, texts, and email.  For awhile each day, sit quietly with our Lord.  Try to remove extra noise from your day, little by little.  I assure you, the more ‘quiet’ you surround yourself with; the more capable you will be of hearing God in your life.   Turn off your radio at your desk, and even in the car on your commute.

In relationships, quiet works as well.  I tell my children, think, pray, and then speak.  There are at least three reasonable responses to any situation or statement.  Positive feedback and / or silence are oftentimes the most difficult for us all; at least this is true for our home.

For example, “Oh look, the sky is clear and blue today!”  Response, “no there are some clouds, hello!”  If your response does not benefit the person, help the person avoid sin, or build up the kingdom, remain silent. 

Tool #9 - Lives of Saints - Read about their lives and get to know them.

When I asked my spiritual director how I could grow in holiness, he suggested that I add the lives of saints to my spiritual reading.  Their stories are steeped in wisdom.

I am able to learn about the lives of saints with my children in the car (I listen) while they listen to and watch great stories from Glory Stories and EWTN's My Catholic Family DVDs.

I also read aloud these stories to my children during "Snack and Bible" daily at 3:00PM.  I love the books by Amy Welborn (Loyola Press), The Vision Book Series, all of the books by Mary Fabyan Windeatt, and the Encounter the Saints Series.

To start, I suggest you learn about Blessed Mother Teresa, St. Therese (The Little Flower), The Children of Fatima, St. Faustina, St. Padre Pio, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Bernadette, and Blessed John Paul II).  Some of these saints bore the stigmata, could bi-locate, and even levitate while in prayer.  These lives captivate and inspire us.  Get to know one saint and you will want to get to know more. 


You now know what a saint is, that you are called to be one, and that the surest way to sainthood is through your vocation, with His Grace.  To become a saint, we must know, love, and serve Him; through our families, right where He has placed us.

There are many tools to aid us in our journey and I pray you employ them.  God is counting on it!  

We are all called to be saints, and once you get to know God, He will begin to show forth His generosity, to spoil you rotten.  You will find that the more you cooperate with His grace, and answer His call, the more he will shower you with His generosity.  God wants to show off, let Him.  He cannot be outdone in generosity! 

St. Francis of Assisi assures us:

·         Start by doing what is necessary

·         then what is possible

·         and suddenly you are doing the impossible



1 – Bennett, Father, New St Joseph - Baltimore Catechism, 1964, Catholic Book Publishing

3 – Modern Catholic Dictionary - by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

4 - Holy - Blessed Mother Teresa
In truth, this entire work was through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 
I am not that good.