Every morning I take time to read about the Saint of the Day on the Laudate app. What inspirations the saints are!
For those not familiar with the Laudate app I highly recommend it. This free app is available in the Apple App Store and it offers a wealth of information on the Catholic faith. Just some of the categories offered are the daily readings, the Latin mass, a liturgical calendar, the liturgy of the hours, prayers in Latin and English, the stations of the cross, a link to EWTN, the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church ,and even the Bible!
And, as I mentioned, there is also a Saint of the Day category, a category that I especially enjoy. When you read about the sacrifices the different saints have made throughout their lives it’s hard not to feel deep and profound respect for them. There are several saints to learn about each day – sisters, priests, laypeople, and even catechists. And all of them have something in common: They all put Jesus first.
Living Saintly Lives
After reading about a saint such as St. Joan of Arc or St. Catherine of Sienna, for instance, I often wonder, “Whoa, how can I possibly live up to that?” Of course, I cannot literally don a suit of armor and go out and do battle in this day and age, but I can certainly stand for what my God holds to be true: loving my neighbor and protecting the voiceless – the voiceless being, of course, the unborn and those on the fringes of society. These are the souls that need saintly action today.
Turn to God
I understand that being a saint is nearly impossible. But if we look back at the lives of the saints in the past we can clearly see that many of them were far from perfect. St. Augustine, one of the Fathers of the Church, had a mistress for years and fathered a child by her. St. Thomas Becket was guilty of gluttony and pride, living greedily and despising the poor. St. Callixtus was a thief, and St. Pelagia was promiscuous.
Sound familiar? If not of you then maybe someone close to you or even just someone you know? How did the saints overcome their sins and turn their eyes to God? Each of us has a story to tell, but unless we willingly turn to Him in repentance and prayer we will not grow spiritually.
Here are three simple things all of us can do that can aid in our spiritual growth.
1. Evangelize. We are called at baptism to spread the Gospel. There are many ways to actively do this. We can visit those that are in desperate situations or volunteer at a homeless shelter or food service organization. Both ministries will open your eyes to those less fortunate than you. We often become too comfortable complaining about things that are trivial compared to what others are experiencing. When you see the gratefulness in people’s eyes, you will become more grateful yourself.
2. Express Your Gratitude. Do you wake up and thank God you are alive? Perhaps not, but you should. When we think about all that He has done for us, we should be shouting “Thank you, Father!” from the rooftop. The saints understood what Jesus undertook for us. How can we not be moved beyond human emotion? Be thankful and give your life back to God.
3. Be authentic. God loves YOU, not your alter-ego. Trying to be someone you’re not is disrespectful to Him. He made you in His own image. Why would you want to be anyone else? Carry your cross and allow God to shape you. This may take a lifetime, but many saints did not become saints until a very old age! Be a Catholic example to others by being open to life, supporting pro-life organizations, and helping the poor.
In the end, God loves you. He deserves your love in return. Having faith in Him and being thankful is required at all times in our lives, whether we are happy or sad. This is easy when we’re happy, but not so easy when we are sad.
Studying the lives of the saints can help us become better people ourselves. Saints serve as wonderful examples for us because they were all ordinary people just like us until they put Jesus first in their lives. Pick a saint to focus on each week and apply their principles to your own life. You’ll be surprised at how easily God-given virtues come to you because they have been locked inside you all the time.
God bless you.