EVERYONE is called to holiness. Everyone can and should be a saint. This is perhaps the main message, the good news that the canonization of the Cebuano Pedro Calungsod is telling us today.
No matter how ordinary and obscure we are, like the new saint who found himself in faraway Marianas Island working as a catechist and helper to an equally holy priest, we can and should be a saint.
God is no respecter of persons. He shows no partiality to anyone or class of persons. He calls everyone to holiness, whether rich or poor, intelligent or not so, etc. All we need do is to make use of what we have or are working at the moment, our ordinary daily duties and chores, to be the vehicle of our sanctification.
In fact, God somehow favors the small and the lowly, the underprivileged and suffering over the big ones and the mighty who often are proud and vain in this game of life called sanctification.
Remember the beatitudes?
St. Paul reiterates the idea when he says: “The foolish things of the world has God chosen, that he may confound the wise. And the weak things of the world has God chosen, that he may confound the strong.”
(1 Cor 1,27)
And even no matter how sinful we may be, no matter how burdened we may be with sins, mistakes, weaknesses, etc., as long as we do our part seeking always the forgiveness of God whose mercy is forever, we can and should be saints.
Just look at the saints. Many of them were great sinners, starting with the apostle Peter who denied Christ. Then you have saints like St. Augustine who even sired a child, St. Magdalene, a woman of ill-repute, etc. But they repented and were forgiven and became great saints.
There is always hope and likelihood for that, since in the first place this is the will of God. Christ clearly says it: “Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5,48) And St. Paul seconds: “This is the will of God, your sanctification.” (1 Thes 4,3)
We have to make this truth a common and constant guiding principle for us. We should not think to be a saint is such a big deal as to be reserved only to a few people who happen to have the appropriate temperament and circumstances. No. To be a saint is our ultimate common goal, achievable in various ways, ordinary ones more than the extraordinary.
We have to remember that more than us shaping our destiny, it is God who does it with his omnipotent providence. All we need do is to cooperate or to correspond to his promptings which is what our human freedom is all about.
But alas, that is usually our problem. We tend to think our freedom is absolutely ours alone. We can think it is self-generated by us, driving God out, when our common sense can easily give the lie to it.
Our freedom simply comes from God. It can only be exercised following God’s will. It can only be lived properly in God. Contributing to this mess is the view that there is no God (atheism) or that God takes no interest in our affairs (agnosticism). He leaves us completely alone.
We need to be clear about this fundamental truth and start to conform ourselves to it. Thus, we need to take our faith and religion more seriously. We need to be consistent to them at every moment. The skills of prayer, meditation, contemplation, offering sacrifices, etc. should be cultivated.
There may be difficulties, but these are understandable and in fact should be expected. Christ himself warned us about them. “In the world you will have affliction. But take courage, I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16,33)
We should just trust God’s providence and correspond to it as much as possible. Doing so will surely lead us to a divine adventure that will always have its highs even if it will also have some low moments. But definitely, it will be a drama with a happy ending. Evil will never have the last word.
It’s good to meditate Christ’s words to boost our hope amid trials:
“There is no man who has left house or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother…for my sake and for the gospel, who shall not receive a hundred times as much, now in this time: houses, and brethren, and sisters…with persecutions, and in the world to come life everlasting.” (Mk 29-30)
St. Pedro Calungsod lived these words.
** This post is in line with the recent canonization of St. Pedro Calungsod of Cebu.
This is a guest post of Fr. Roy Cimagala, a CAMMA- awardee religious columnist.