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There can be no greater plan for you than sainthood, sharing in the life of God as a member of the divine family, since there can be no other alternative outcome in your life exceeding the beauty and magnificence of the salvific plan of God's loving goodness.

Who and what is a saint, and why should anyone want to be one? Is it in any way important to think about the saints? What do their lives mean for our lives? Given the nature of our modern, hyper-energized and technologically advanced world, are they still relevant today? On the other hand, could sainthood be the path to true, unending happiness in the here and now, as well as the next life? Is becoming a saint the solution to our deepest longings?

When God takes possession of the soul, it knows it has found something great, something worth dying for, although this possession at the same time remains shrouded in mystery. It is as if a great Light floods in, enabling the soul to finally open its eyes, seeing for the first time the true meaning and purpose of its life; it then understands it has tasted a Love never-before imagined, never-before experienced. The whole world, in that moment, is transformed into something different, something new.

When God takes possession of the soul, it knows it has found something great, something worth dying for, although this possession at the same time remains shrouded in mystery. It is as if a great Light floods in, enabling the soul to finally open its eyes, seeing for the first time the true meaning and purpose of its life; it then understands it has tasted a Love never-before imagined, never-before experienced. The whole world, in that moment, is transformed into something different, something new.


GLADE PARK, CO (Catholic Online) -- Who and what is a saint, and why should anyone want to be one? Is it in any way important to think about the saints? What do their lives mean for our lives? Given the nature of our modern, hyper-energized and technologically advanced world, are they still relevant today? Could it be that, as some suggest, the saints are best categorized as ancient relics whose lives of so-called heroic virtue and heavenly apparitions are more the product of pious imagination and "church talk" and fairytale than reality?

Mention of the word "saint" will foster numerous images and thoughts in people's minds. For many people today, given the rapid increase in the secularization of society, serious thinking about who or what a saint is, is about as common as spaghetti without noodles. Even less common, is energy devoted to the idea of the saints as important role models whose lives should be held up as examples for all.

There is also the tendency to think the saints were born that way. That is, they could hardly have been people who struggled with sin and the many temptations in daily life as do us "ordinary people," but rather were gifted with some great vision of light at or near their infancy, elevated by an extraordinary abundance of God's grace, and thus supernaturally enabled to easily fix their gaze on the heavenly heights of virtue and holiness and therefore live a life ordered in every way toward love of God. In this vein of erroneous thought, it is easy to dismiss altogether the possibility of becoming a saint. However, the saints started out just like you and me.

If we look at the lives of some of the greatest saints in the history of humankind, we find they wrestled with temptation, and often fell. They were not born saints. The early lives of Sts. Augustine, Teresa of Avila, and Francis of Assisi, to name a few, are all examples of the personal struggle over the proper exercise of human free will. These saints were self-identified sinners. But then something radical happened in their lives. What was it?
Another question you must ask yourself is, "Do I want to become a saint?" Worldly freethinkers are uninterested; it's all restrictive and limiting silliness and foolishness to them. It is only the humble who fully grasp the beauty in dying to self with open arms to God, a requirement of sainthood. Others fear that having God means giving up all the pleasures of the world. Unfortunately, they misunderstand what possessing God really means and really is.

For instance, we often hear God is love. The mistake we make, however, is in thinking God's love is simply a bigger version of human love, and we know in the depths of our heart any amount of human love, however great, will not satisfy us forever. We have all experienced some kind of pleasurable love from others, whether it be from friendship, paternal or maternal or filial love, human intimacy, and so forth; yet God's love cannot be directly compared to these. Gather all your most pleasurable experiences in life into one. Once touched by God's love, you will realize how very small and insignificant these fleeting moments really are, for they are as nothing when compared to one Divine Glance lasting but a faction of a second. To compare human love and the pleasures of earthly life to the intense, fiery heat of the love of God, is to compare but a dim candle flame to the combined heat of all the stars contained in 100 billion galaxies -- and this analogy, too, falls infinitely short.

If you want to have everything, God alone suffices. If you want to experience complete, life-changing and indescribable love, God alone can supply it. There is no substitute for God. There is no experience like the experience of God. If you want to be kissed by the Divine Fire who will burn within your being for eternity, providing continuous warmth and love, companionship and peace, happiness and security, then you will need to give up yourself to God; you will need to become a saint. It is not a way of life for the fickle or for cowards, but rather for the determined and persistent and courageous. It will not be easy, as the cross of Christ clearly reveals, but the rewards are unimaginably great. Do you want that life? Do you want to become a saint?

Above we noted how something radical, at some point, happened in the lives of the saints. Some moment came and passed, leaving them different. It is as if they were each being tossed about on a stormy sea, when suddenly a sure, certain and loving wind filled their sails, and began to push them along toward a new, unseen yet highly desirable destiny.

The life-giving wind that blew across the decks of their ships was God, and upon noticing this Divine Wind and how highly desirable it was, the saints urgently and properly rigged the main sails in order to allow it to carry them along. All throughout the remaining voyage, they diligently manned the helm and held fast to the course.

In other words, the saints acted on a desire for God. This desire originated, of course, in God, since it is God who infuses us with a thirst for himself. God makes us want God. This he does in order to draw us to the only source of perfect and complete happiness in the entire universe: the infinite Other, Creator and Father, whose life is Love and whose love is Life. It is God who gifts us with any desire or strength to seek the infinite and eternal, to join into unity with himself and long for everlasting life in Christ, and therefore order our lives according to the charity, purity and holiness required in living as a saint in docility to the Holy Spirit. The saints, then, took up the desire for God by responding fully to God's plan for humanity. That is a crucial concept to grasp, since in God alone, our origin and source, is found the fullest possible dimension of human life.

God has placed a thirst for himself inherently within the human heart, so we would seek out and then find our way to the destiny and goal of human life -- Itself the infinite Love we all unceasingly crave. However, God does not merely call us to a "nearness" with the Divine Mind, nor to simply take his hand, but rather calls us to share in his own divine life. The Creator invites us to become divinized by granting us the ability to participate in his supernatural life, made possible by the saving death of his Son, in becoming his adopted sons and daughters. If we will reflect on that a moment, we can begin to see the wondrous depth and breadth of God's plan of immense love. The fact that created objects and creatures remain unfulfilling is proof of our need for God who alone is superabundantly capable of granting human fulfillment. Everything is ordered toward perfect goodness, toward your goodness! You are called to the permanent reception of divine love! The saints, then, in their free response to the divine call to communion with God, were acting in a fully human way. They said "yes" to Divine Love.

When we speak of the saints' response to the call of Divine Love, we must recognize two important facts: first, all is God's grace. It is God who begets the desire in us for himself and for any good; it is the Holy Spirit who draws us toward Christ, urges us to pray, and provides the means for us to engage in prayer; it is God's love poured out upon us and into us that conceives within us a thirst for love, companionship, intimacy, solidarity, mercy and forgiveness and all other good things. Further, the gift of God's grace cannot be merited; it is a free gift entirely beyond the powers of human nature to obtain. That fact should inflame our hearts with gratitude over God's superabundant goodness.

Second, the saints responded to God's grace. Grace does not destroy the power of human free will. You can refuse to listen, you can fail to respond; and, at any time, however advanced you may be or think you are in the spiritual life, it is always possible to turn away. The importance of a full, free, loving, obedient and continuing "yes" in response to God's call to love during our earthly pilgrimage cannot be overemphasized.

We have spoken about the importance of taking up the desire for God. You must act; that is what the saints did: in a determined and focused way, they marched along in fellowship with Christ, the light that "shines in the darkness" (Jn 1:5). But how do you go about doing that? Specifically, what are you to do in order to respond to God? Here we arrive at what is often referred to as "taking up the means."

The important thing to realize is, God himself has provided a means of salvation, a doorway held open for you through which you are invited to walk a path of light that leads into ever-greater light. The means of salvation is Christ, of course, but there is more to be said, for Christ founded a holy community, his Church, as a means for future generations to receive the truth of the Gospel and the sacraments of life and therefore attain the fulness of God's salvific plan. It is the Church who carries on the ministry of Christ. It is through the Church that we learn about Christ and, in fact, the full truth about the mystery of the human person. In becoming a sacramental people fully incorporated into the Church and into the life of Christ, a people whose life is the Gospel, we enter into the plan of God that is directed toward our permanent reception of divine love. To take up the means, then, is to fall in love with the Person of Jesus Christ -- a way of life and state of existence lived out within the nourishing womb of holy mother Church.

Stated another way, to take up the means is to strive to make Christ's story our own story. It is to embrace God's salvific plan for his people, a plan borne in the Father's heart from eternity, for "God created the world for the sake of communion with his divine life, a communion brought about by the 'convocation' of men in Christ, and this 'convocation' is the Church" (CCC 760). It was Clement of Alexandria who wrote, "Just as God's will is creation and is called 'the world,' so his intention is the salvation of men, and it is called 'the Church.'"

Do you want to become a saint? To do so is the highest and most fruitful use of your life's energy. It is, in fact, the very thing for which you were created. There can be no greater plan for you than sainthood, sharing in the life of God as a member of the divine family, since there can be no other alternative outcome in your life exceeding the beauty and magnificence of the salvific plan of God's loving goodness. It is the Father's intent for you, one which is rooted in the divine love of God for his children.

Fear not. Everyone has a place; regardless of how you may have lived in the past, there is a future for you in God accessed through repentance. While the path to sainthood will not be easy, and will require sacrifice and determination in living a life of holiness, you will find that in dying to self, in putting sin to death and in living for Christ and for others, there will be an abundance of joy poured into your heart even in the midst of hardship. In the worst of circumstances, the light of happiness will radiate from your eyes. You will find that all things have been made new, even you!

To become a saint is more, not less. Are you ready? Then take up the desire for God; take up the means to God; fill your sails with the Divine Wind of Love who calls you to Himself. Become a saint!

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F. K. Bartels is a Catholic writer who knows the Catholic Church offers the fullest means of salvation; therefore his Catholic Faith is one of the greatest gifts a man could ever receive. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit him also at joyintruth.com

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Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.

Keywords: holiness, sainthood, the saints, saints, become a saint, how to be a saint, Church, church, God's plan of salvation, salvation, Christ, perfect happiness, happiness, joy, peace, love, security, F. K. Bartels



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1 - 10 of 10 Comments

  1. James Howard
    1 year ago

    MGM you demonstrated your idiocy. You already excommunicated yourself from the Roman Catholic Church. You are just a Liberal HYPOCRITE. I have seen conservative agnostics who are much more ethical than you. I met an abortionist who converted and became Catholic. His name was Bernard Nathanson. What's your excuse for not converting? He killed 75,000 babies, and your support their killing.

  2. Christian Bisson
    1 year ago

    MGM, What are we to do with you? You are lost and you don't even know it. The truth stares you squarely in the face and you don't see it. I'm not surprised you are not losing sleep at night nor that you are not plagued with visions of hell awaiting you. Your conscience does not seem to bother you. You don't think there is anything wrong with voting for someone who has no trouble with killing babies, nor with all the other odious and rebellious things against God he favours. Your conscience does not seem to be working. If it were, it would tell you right from wrong.

    Voting for Obama is a symptom of something much deeper that needs to be addressed. By what you said you easily dismiss the Bishops and what they teach when they disagree with you. It reminds me of Lucifer when he rebelled against God and declared he would not serve. In his pride and anger he rejected God in favour of his own ideas of how things should be. Isn't that what you do when you reject good, sound, moral Church teaching in favour of your own acquired wisdom?

    You know, heaven exists. Hell exists too. They are real. Hell is something we create for ourselves one rebellious choice at a time. It is where we end up when we refuse to serve. If we don't want to spend eternity with God He will not force us. He will respect our free will and give us exactly what we want and desire. He is merciful. I've heard it said that people curse God from hell. They hate him and feel justified in their hatred and their anger. They have no wish to repent. They have become exactly like the demons they serve, dark and ugly. Is that what you really want?

    Any anger I might feel is not felt nor directed at you but rather at the demonic and dark forces at work in our world that have done a superb job at twisting the truth into a lie, at changing good into bad and bad into good. The Adversary has deceived "millions" of Catholics like yourself and has convinced them that their choices are good and justifiable. He has won them to his side and they don't even know it. That is the real tragedy.

    You said you can find plenty of reason why you should go to confession. Good! Then go! The next time you go, mention the Obama thing and see what He has to say through the priest. He's waiting for you. He's not at all what the deceiver has painted Him to be. If you are honest, humble, and repentant you will find a merciful saviour who will heal and bind up all your wounds. I'll be praying for you.

  3. mgm.
    1 year ago

    I'am not angry with you,what did I write that implied that? your angry with me for hitting your nerve ! I think what hits your nerve is millions of Catholics like me that voted for President Obama are not losing sleep at night or plague with visions of Hell awaiting us .I can find plenty of reasons I should go to confession all of which have nothing to do with not voting for Mitt Romney.

  4. Christian Bisson
    1 year ago

    MGM, Did I hit a nerve? You're probably right. Had you voted for Romney the red flag would not have gone off. Although he's not perfect, he does not embrace intrinsic evil. Obama does. The choice is clear.

    With regards to private revelation, in order for it to be authentic it must agree with Church teaching and cannot add to it or contradict it. Private revelation puts a spotlight on what has already been revealed and helps us focus on a truth of the faith for a particular time and purpose. The roses for Obama who embraces intrinsic evil do not add up. St Therese would never align herself with him.

    In your anger against me please don't dismiss what I have written. It was kindly meant and does not offer contradiction to what the Church teaches. Your soul, as well as those of others who think like you, and voted like you, are in peril.You cannot expect to embrace intrinsic evil while on earth and expect to be welcomed into heaven when you leave this earthly journey. What you choose now sets a pattern for what you will choose when you leave this earthly life. God puts before us life or death. He expects us to choose life. That choice is eternally ours.

    And just because Obama was elected again does not mean that it was God's good will, pleasure, and intention. Surely He allowed it, much like He allowed Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin to come to power. But what will come of it? People were asleep then much like they are asleep now. Evil, and its agenda, continues to church on. Which side will you be on?

    Better get yourself to a confessional and make your peace with God.

  5. mgm.
    1 year ago

    C.Bission.You know something tells me that had I wrote that my so called private revelation had lead me to vote for Mitt Romney I would not have heard a peep out of you.

  6. Christian Bisson
    1 year ago

    MGM ,... St Therese, the little flower came through for the President again.?? Are you out of your mind? St. Therese would agree that anything which disagrees with Church teaching should be held suspect, and probably be rejected. The red roses you saw out there near the voting booths were not from St.Therese. For you they were an instrument of deception by the evil one. You took them the wrong way. If you want to be a saint you have to be obedient and humble towards what the Church teaches. The bishops have spoken clearly. Private revelation and its erroneous interpretation can be quite dangerous and lead us down a path that we may not necessarily want to travel. I'd go back to the sacrament of reconciliation and work out this issue of voting for someone who embraces intrinsic evil and your participation in it. You're not a "bad" Catholic. You are a sinner like the rest of us who needs to be better informed so as to choose with the mind of the Church when it comes to Obama or anything else that comes down the pike.

    You want to be a saint? Do what the Church teaches. Follow its program. Participate in the sacraments. Take advantage of the daily opportunities that God provides to die to yourself, your ideas, wants, desires, etcetera. Bring your issues to the Church and work them out there. Be humble, and realize that God working through the Church will never lead you astray. If your thinking disagrees with what the Church teaches, chuck it. Put on the mind of Christ and be renewed by it.

  7. Kristie Foxworthy
    1 year ago

    From my earliest memories I have been told stories of the saints by my parents and then in CCD. I believe it is in my make up to desire sainthood or martyrhood. I daily remind myself that my destiny should be and is God's will but with this being so ingrained in my psyche, I sure dream of doing the greatest of human deeds. We probably all want to make God happy and I can't imagine a better way of doing so. Also the want of a heavenly eternal home is something I can't picture losing.

  8. Greg
    1 year ago

    May it be done according to Thy will!
    My Lord. I am being You for the last three years, and I will be being You till I die to help me to die to myself and become a saint while still here on Earth. Not for my sake but for Your sake and the same of Your Church, Your Bride. As Saint Catherine of Siena said-to wash away the sin of the beautiful face of Your Bride. And I know You are always answering prayers. I is just only me, poor, wretched sinner who You have to deal with.
    If any of you, my brother and sisters are reading this, please have mercy on me and ask our Father, through His Son, Jesus, for mercy for Gregory, and to bless him. That Jesus took Greg's heart and in exchange gave His heart to him. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading it and a prayer!

  9. mgm.
    1 year ago

    St.Therese .My Mom that died this year always said how beautiful she was and my Dad that died 40 years ago was devoted to her and asked her to help him face death as a young man leaving six kids behind ,I continue the devotion praying for her intercession through the years and this year to help President Obama's reelection as I walked to the Salvation Army Church basement to vote outside of the Church I notice late blooming red roses ,my Mom always pointed out red roses as a sign our prayers would be answered and St. Therese the little Flower came through for the President again ! That's why when I read here or see on EWTN.that I'am a bad,bad Catholic for voting the way I did or hear some American Bishops cry that their being persecuted by the President I just roll my eyes while it rolls off my shoulder ! it's the will of God he won office so just face the fact that God wants him to continue his work.

  10. rafaelmarie
    1 year ago

    I TELL YOU SOLEMNLY...

    AS THE SAINTS MARTYRED THEMSELVES FOR THEIR FAITH, SO SHALL THOSE WHO STAND WITHOUT FEAR AGAINST ABORTION, AND SACRIFICE HUMAN RESPECT FOR DIVINE CONSOLATION AND SALVATION!


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