Sometimes – quite frequently – I ask myself the following two questions:
- What would I have to do, in my particular circumstances, to become a saint?
- Which living Catholics do I think should become saints?
The answers to both questions tend to lead me to the same answer, but unfortunately it’s one that I seem to forget even more often than I think about it. I think the answers are something like this:
- Seize every opportunity in my life that defines my life as my life to turn towards God.
- The people who seize every opportunity in their lives that define their lives as their lives to turn towards God.
Essentially, if I ever want to become a saint, I need to stay in my own lane and focus on getting holy right here. I think that many of us among the “non-(practising)-Catholic-spouse” crowd feel like we have somehow already excluded ourselves from the possibility of sainthood. The saints will be the ones who waited and waited until God provided them with the Perfect Catholic Spouse to raise the Perfect Catholic Family, we tell ourselves.
And for some people, that is their path to sainthood. I am not undermining the goodness and holiness of spurning the ‘wrong’ men in the patient and unknowing wait for the ‘right’ one. Nor do I wish to undermine those Catholic families we all see on Instagram who celebrate several feast days per week, wear coordinating outfits for all the major Holy Days, and seem to have their entire existence infused with Catholicism. Those people do a genuine, holy service for many people by exemplifying how beautiful a devoutly Catholic family life can be.
But, God is not asking me to be one of those people. He genuinely isn’t. Nor does He think “well, you’ve made some wrong choices so I’ll just do my best with an already messed up attempt to be holy.” My capacity for holiness is no less than that of Mrs. Daily Mass with 12 Kids (that’s not meant to be aimed at anyone in particular!). My capacity for holiness lies in my willingness to trust God with the life He has given me, to turn towards Him especially in the moments where I can’t see Him, and to pray for the holiness of everyone around me, regardless of where I think they relate to me on the scale of sanctity.
As a young Catholic woman, wife, and mother – early in her journey of each of those three things – what can I be doing to become holier than I am now?
- Above all, praying for greater trust in God
- Praying that I will be a good wife and mother
- Praying that my husband and kids will see God’s light shine through me
- Love and serve my husband and kids, even when I don’t feel like it
- Prioritise prayer and Sacraments, avoiding excuses about why I don’t have time
- Pray that I’ll be attentive to opportunities to grow in holiness
- Love everyone I encounter to the best of my ability
That’s just an “off the top of my head” list, which could very easily be several tens of pages long. Many of the things I should be doing are the things that we should all be doing, and others are of particular importance in my life and situation. The point is, I mustn’t throw my hands in the air in despair and say “well I don’t have any chance anyway, so what’s the point?” I should be living my life as though my chances of making it to Heaven are just as good as anyone else’s – which they are.
I like to think that if I make it there, I’ll be interceding for people struggling with being the sole carriers of faith in their families. I would like to continue the work started on this blog once I have actual access to Jesus! What about you – what will you be patron saint of?