We are called to be saints. In our modern world, it may appear to be passÃ©, obsolete, old-fashion ideal which has no place in materialism. But for those whose gaze goes beyond the temporal, their mission is clear: to live and die a saint. There are no other options.
Fantastic. Yes. Overzealous. Perhaps. But one thing is sure, we will all die and we will be part of those who we remember today. And since death is inevitable, what better way to live than realize the highest ideals the saints espoused?
Itâ€™s is not actually complicated. Wherever we are right now and whatever our lot in life is, we can actualize these morals.
Iâ€™m thinking about the dedicated mother who nurses her baby and juggles her time for home and work. What about the father, who works hard to secure his familyâ€™s present and future? Look at the doctor who, in the middle of an operation, earnestly prays that her patient survives and heals fast. The teacher, who makes every effort to make her children learn. Iâ€™m thinking about the priest who strives to live a holy life, projecting Jesus to his flock so they too may be nourished in spirit.
They are all saints in the making. To me, the secret of the saint is only one thing: To do ordinary things with extraordinary love. That is, to carry oneâ€™s cross and follow Jesus.
To carry oneâ€™s cross is an everyday occurrence. Ah, indeed this life is a cross. Ask a mother who has children. Ask the father, the doctor, the teacher, the priest. Ask anyone who has breath. The cross is a perfect symbol of our suffering and ultimate death.
But we do not stop at that. We just donâ€™t carry aimlessly. The best thing that happens to our cross is Jesus. When we follow Jesus, we donâ€™t suffer for sufferingâ€™s sake anymore, we suffer because we love. And it is love that perfects us, how menial or insignificant we think our tasks may be.
I remember the story of Mother Theresa of Calcutta. The wives of the Hindu aristocrats in India went to the general to complain about the nunâ€™s alleged proselytizing and their fear that more and more will be converted to Christianity. The general, a level-headed man, asked the women to go with him and see for themselves if the allegation is true.
When they came to Mother Theresaâ€™s place, they saw her and some other nuns washing and cleaning the wounds, most of them gangrenous, of people they picked up from the streets. One of the women exclaimed, â€œEww, I wouldnâ€™t do this for a million dollars!â€ Mother Theresa answered, â€œI wouldnâ€™t do this for a million dollars either. But I will do this for a million lifetimes for the love of my Lord Jesus.â€ The women went home with opened eyes.
Sometimes I agonize over this role of writing every week. There are times I do not know what to write, my children demanding my time for play, or just plain busy with other equally important tasks. But the agony becomes sweet when I think of the opportunity to serve and love others through writing. Such is the road to sainthood, at least for me.
When I read the beatitudes (gospel) today, it struck me how our human deplorable conditions can turn out into blessings and the worldâ€™s standards turned upside down when they are seen through the Fatherâ€™s eyes. According to Pope Benedict XVI, â€œIt is precisely those who are poor in worldly terms, those thought as lost souls, who are truly fortunate ones, the blessed, who have every reason to rejoice and exult in the midst of their sufferings. The Beatitudes are promises resplendent with the new image of the world and of man inaugurated by Jesus, his transformation of values.â€
Yes, in Jesus, our sufferings become blessings. Our crosses turn into bridges. As we remember the Solemnity of All Saints today, may we be inspired all the more to be portraits of Jesus in our lifetime and fulfil our calling to be saints. (By Kit Nemenzo Balane)
P.S. Iâ€™m inviting all young people and singles to the Live Pure Conference: The Happiness Effect on November 22, 2015 at the Bohol Wisdom School Gymnasium at 9:00-4:00 oâ€™clock. Registration is only P50. For more inquiries, you can email me at email@example.com or contact Valerie Yap at City Pharmacy, BQ Branch.