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Painting by George Dunlop Leslie, 1835-1930

by Father Daniel Considine, S.J., 1950’s

Becoming Saints

Our Lord longs for us to become saints. Visions, etc., are not necessary for sanctity. The impression that sanctity belongs only to a very small class is quite a mistaken one. . . . It is a great mistake to think that when Our Lord asks anything, and we don’t give it, He turns away and leaves us.

In order to become a saint, it is not necessary never to make a mistake, never to keep Our Lord waiting. Sanctity is much easier than we suspect. People will say, ‘it is not for the likes of me.”

If people unfortunately won’t believe Our Lord wants their friendship, they tie His hands. “Of course, Our Lord can’t ask that of me” Many would be quite willing if only they could bring themselves to believe Our Lord is asking it of them.

What makes a saint is a very tiny spark of the love of God. It suddenly strikes me that God really loves me, and that, if I don’t do that little thing, it hurts Him.

If you try to serve Him out of love, He puts up with blunders, sulkiness, frailties, etc. There are plenty in the world who’ll work out of love; many will do for another what they won’t do for themselves.

How long it took the saints to become saints! What disappointments they had! Yet every one was persuaded that Our Lord loved them. Never be afraid of desiring the highest graces. Even the higher kinds of prayer – there is no room for vanity – no one need ever know anything at all about it.

The Shepherds at the Crib

Examine the conduct of the shepherds.

They were doing their work; they were exactly where they ought to have been. We shall not be asked if we were exalted or lowly, good-looking or plain, rich or poor. I shall be in congenial temper with God if I am doing the work God has given me to do.

The shepherds’ work meant a certain amount of hardship. They were inured to it, perhaps, but still it meant sacrifice, hardness of life. If our life doesn’t mean this, sprinkle a little of the salt of mortification upon it.

Do I know what my work is, and am I faithful to it? And if hard, do I embrace it willingly?

Some people look for God anywhere but at home, in their everyday clothes and humdrum life. Every work we have to do is God’s. We quite forget, though God is in heaven, He is in my heart and soul, and as much in my kitchen as in my drawing room.

Don’t let us dream our lives away, or wait for some great occasion of sacrifice which may never come. “Oh, if only I had the facilities another person has, what a wonderful person I should be!’ A fallacy.

Your sanctity consists in dealing with your present circumstances. Do those things which are close under your eyes and God will give you more to do. The saints became saints by using the opportunities which others disdain.

“God couldn’t have meant me to do such a work in my circumstances.” We can leave that to God quite safely, and if I allow Him to direct me, all will come right. To be willingly where we ought to be, attracts to us the invitation of Our Lord.

These shepherds were certainly not men of any mark or ability, nor out of the common outwardly. But they were, you may be sure, God-fearing men, striving to love God.

Otherwise they would have been scandalized at being called on to worship the tiny Child in the cold stable in the arms of His Mother. It is much easier to understand that the Magi could recognize Our Lord. But these poor shepherds rose to the great act of faith required of them, because they had already given their hearts to God. They were simple men.

Are we simple? God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble. He actually opposes the proud, drives them from Him. If we could see a material barrier round that Crib, we should see how we are prevented from getting nearer Him by -usually- pride. They saw the Divinity which their more learned countrymen could not see, because of their simplicity. The more we advance in the spiritual life the more we become as children.

Let us pray to grow in this simplicity and that desire to see Him which is the prelude to His coming. If we long, He will satisfy our longing. Wherever we are, God will come to us, if He finds us trying to be perfect. Desire Him to come as He has never come before. Offer Him the homage of rejoicing and offer Him your heart, desiring to be rid of your failings.

Love and friendship are the remnants of the earthly paradise. In this vale of tears, when we encounter so many difficulties, to have people you can call friends is such a joy, such a comfort, such a gift. –Dietrich von Hildebrand, Man, Woman, and the Meaning of Love: God’s Plan for Love, Marriage, Intimacy, and the Family http://amzn.to/2zdpZLI (afflink)

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