Do you ever read about the saints and wonder: “Could I do it? Could I possibly endure such agony for Christ?” Fortunately, most of us will not undergo such torture as these brave souls. Unfortunately, many of us probably do not possess such fortitude.
On June 29 Saints Peter and Paul are honored in the Catholic Church. Each saint contributed to the Church in his own ways, and each also had his own long journey to salvation.
Saint Peter was a simple man, only a fisherman. He was an everyday person just like you and I, who had doubts about his faith and who also seemed to have issues with anger. Jesus displayed his mighty powers to Simon Peter and he immediately became a disciple. However, this did not keep Peter from denying Christ not only once, but three times! How did such a brave yet ordinary man shoulder such responsibility and become the first Pope and a martyr for Christ?
Saint Paul was first known as Saul. He was a Pharisee who persecuted Christians and took part in the stoning of Saint Stephen. It took a miracle from God to convince him that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. His revelation on the road to Damascus was all it took to bring him to Christ. His evangelizing efforts brought him much hatred, yet he persevered in his Gospel journey before dying a Martyr.
Learn from Peter and Paul
How can we learn from such a perfect examples? The answer is to humble ourselves before the Lord. These two saints did not possess any super powers before their conversions. However, one power our Lord has given to all of us is the power to surrender to His will.
This kind of trust is hard for non-Christians to understand. It is a total dependence on our Lord for all our needs. Many people find this sort of witness to Christ as careless and foolhardy. And this is where actually witnessing to Christ comes into play. You can live like a saint and evangelize through your example.
Saint Paul was the perfect evangelizer and we can certainly learn from his example. Some may think evangelizing involves preaching the Gospel to strangers. Although that in itself is admirable, and not an easy task, we can also live as saints silently through our actions. A few examples of this may include being open to children in any way they come to us, whether that be a planned or unplanned pregnancy, or perhaps being blessed with a special needs child. In my opinion, special needs people are among the most saintly on our planet. Their caregivers are pretty saintly, too.
Other Ways to Witness
Another way to witness for Christ is to keep your faith even when faced with tragedy. I have two dear friends who are doing just that. They are faced with very different, yet very heart-wrenching trials involving their sons. One of my friends lost one of her children while her other child was paralyzed because of a drunk driver. Yet she remains steadfast in her faith and never once lost her dependence on Christ. My other friend has not seen her son in almost 16 years. He is missing and presumed murdered. Yet she stills prays faithfully and believes that God will not abandon her in her sorrow.
Forgiving those who cross us and loving one another are other ways to sainthood that we may hear often, yet rarely employ in our lives. How often do we hear of reconciliations instead of divorces, adoptions instead of abortions, or forgiveness instead of revenge?
Read about Saints Peter and Paul this week. Do not be afraid to live as saintly as possible. God has already instilled this gift in you. It only takes self-discipline to cultivate it.