“For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and discovering my true self.” – Thomas Merton
When I came back to the faith in 2012, my goal was just to be a better person however, while listening to a talk by Fr. Larry Richards, I heard him say that we are all called to be saints. Saints? Is he kidding me! Apparently Fr. Larry has no idea who I am or what I have done in my life…..sainthood was way off in the distance if even possible at all. This was my thinking back then. I have come to learn that he was absolutely 100% correct. Jesus calls us to become saints. So, like me, you may be asking “how?” I know it’s going to sound dumb and maybe even hokey but, you have to want it. You’re probably saying “That’s it! You have to want it?” Well, that’s not all of it. First you have to want it, then you need to make it happen, in other words, you have to live it. That’s where the work comes in and if you are like me, it’s not going to be easy but then again, God never said life would be easy.
If you take time to read the stories of the saints, you’d be surprised at how many of them were not exactly the best people out there. Look at St. Augustine for example - arrogant, prideful and a womanizer. He actually said, “Lord, help me to become chaste, just not yet.” St. Peter (a man who I can relate to) had a temper and a mouth like a sailor, yet Jesus saw in him what he didn’t see in himself. It is the same with us. Jesus sees and knows what we are called to be, we just need to see it ourselves. “For me to be a saint means to be myself.” Thomas Merton knew that in order to become a saint meant he had to be himself. Who that person is, “himself,” was the question. It is a question that I have often pondered and that has really struck a cord with me lately. Who am I or rather, who has God called me to be? Who or what is my true self?
Sometimes, especially for myself, I think we set ourselves up for failure. Maybe not all of us but, definitely in reverts back to the faith. We are full of fire and zeal for the faith and we need to climb up to the top of the tallest mountain and tell everyone how we feel and how they too can feel the same way!!! And then, the fire starts to die. Enter the panic stage. “What am I doing wrong? Am I not praying enough? Did I upset God somehow?” We get desperate and start doing even more and looking towards others to emulate. Saint so and so, Mr.& Mrs Lay Evangelist, etc… I’ll give you an example. One of the things that I started to do to reignite that fire was to listen to various Catholic speakers via Lighthouse Catholic Media CD’s. I was introduced to people like Fr. Larry Richards, Jesse Romero, Scott Hahn, Stephen Ray, Deacon Harold Burke Sivers and Fr. Michael Schmitz just to name a few. Each of them, was a very powerful speaker. Each had a different message, yet the same message. The difference was in their deliveries. I caught myself saying, “I want to be like Jesse, no wait! I want to be like Fr. Larry, no wait! I really want to be like Scott Hahn!” It was and is madness.
I’m finally starting to understand that Jesus wants me to be…..me. Here I was trying to emulate all of the aforementioned speaker,s when they have all said the same thing at one time or another. The only person that we should be trying to emulate or to be like is Jesus Christ. How come I didn’t hear that the first time or even the last 50 times? It is because I was too focused on the person and not the message. I’m pretty quick at some things and slow at other things. This was one of the slow times. So now comes the work of trying to figure out my “true self” and not that person that I want to portray to the rest of the world, but instead, the real me. How long will it take? I’m not sure. However, I trust that through the grace of God, He will let me know and I will be able to tell when it happens. The journey continues, my friends. God bless!