Hello my dear Rosary Lovers! We are about to focus on the most important consideration of human life: how to become a saint.
Why become a saint?
It’s been said: ‘If you live your life and don’t become a saint, you have flunked life.’ It’s like failing a really, really important exam. We should all want to become saints because it is the point of life, it’s why we are here.
We should also want to become a saint because it’s the beautiful life. It’s a life of suffering, but also of joy and peace. It’s the life of Christ in our souls. It’s knowing Mary as our Mother. It’s knowing God as our Father. There is no higher or more human life.
Additionally, we should want to become saints because who really wants to go to Hell? No-one wants to go to Hell.
Still, do we really want to go to Purgatory? Of course, Purgatory is far better than Hell, because at least we know that being in Purgatory we will one day get to Heaven.
But Purgatory is painful! Purgatory will hurt, it won’t be very pleasant. It involves further suffering and purging of our sins, to prepare us for heaven. Who wants this experience beyond the sufferings of this life?
If we waste our sufferings here, and waste the grace God gives us, we will have to undergo Purgatory. And who knows how much more we will have to suffer there in order to get to heaven?
I think many Catholics only wish to avoid hell. They don’t mind going to Purgatory.
This used to be my thinking. I just wanted to avoid hell. Avoid mortal sin at all costs.
It is great to avoid mortal sin at all costs, but what about venial sin? Venial sin is still sin, and it still damages our souls and our relations with God, Christ, Mary and the Church.
Venial sin will also obstruct our prayers and it may make our prayers less likely to reach heaven. (I speak from experience).
But worst of all, venial sin keeps us from heaven!
My Catholic faith changed when I realised that aiming for Purgatory is completely misguided. We all ought to be aiming for HEAVEN! We all ought to be aiming for sainthood, to become saints, whether the Church ever canonises us or not.
Do you really want to die and then go to Purgatory for more suffering and more waiting to see the faces of Jesus and Mary??
Become like God – LOVE
God desires that every single human being should become like him. This is what becoming a saint means. ‘Saint’ means ‘holy one’. To become a saint simply means to become like God who is Holy. It means to become holy.
Every human is made in the image and likeness of God. In the Eastern theological tradition, such as in Orthodox Christianity, it is common to say that God made us in his image, but we must attain to his likeness by grace and our free-will.
Becoming like God is the meaning of life. But who or what is God? We are told: though no-one has ever seen God, yet the Word has revealed him as LOVE. God is LOVE, and those who love abide in God and God abides in them.
This means learning to love, learning to be self-sacrificial, learning to give yourself for others. This is seeking the path of sainthood.
The golden rule is: ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’ Don’t do to others what you wouldn’t want them to do to you.
‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.’
‘Upon these two commandments hang all the Law and Prophets.’
These are the words of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the final prophet and the Word who became flesh for our sake and for our salvation.
This is how we become saints. We aim for one thing: LOVE. Love for God, love for all those who come into our lives, love for everyone, even love for ourselves.
But how can I grow in love?
That’s perhaps the million dollar question.
It is one thing to know that we need to grow in love and grace. But it is quite another to actually grow in love through definite steps which we know will help us.
If I want to go to a country, then it’s one thing to know I need to get there, and another thing to plan my journey.
Becoming a saint requires some planning and following some steps. We are going to need a lot of help!
This is why we are Catholic. The Church offers us the holy sacraments to magnificently aid us on our way to heaven.
First and foremost, we have baptism, which purges us of all our sins. This is the start of the journey to heaven.
But along the journey, we grow tired and weary and often become lazy. So God provides us with the Holy Eucharist, which isn’t food for the perfect, but food for the weary.
Should we become so lazy as to sin very badly, we have Confession to in a sense ‘re-baptise’ us and restore us completely to God. (We cannot be baptised again, this is why we have Confession).
We have Confirmation to empower us to witness for Christ and the Church!
We have the Holy Sacrament of Marriage, to fill us with daily grace.
And so on.
Beyond this, the Church offers us so much more, such as:
- The Holy Rosary
- The Divine Office, the Church’s daily and hourly life of prayer
- The weekly Friday Fast
- Daily Mass
- Open Churches, so we can visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament regularly
- All the saints, especially Mary and St Joseph
- Tonnes of prayers
- Orders, such as the Franciscans, Dominicans or Carmelites, which even lay-people can join!
- The Brown Scapular
- The Miraculous Medal
- The Church’s teachings for guidance and clarity
- Holy Scripture for the refreshing of the soul
- Plus much, much more
Truly, you can never exhaust the Catholic life or the life of sainthood.
A really easy start
I recommend the following. Get yourself a Brown Scapular, and get a priest to enroll you. Then begin wearing the Brown Scapular all the time.
Just wearing your Scapular will keep you from going to Hell. It is a sign of salvation.
It is also a constant prayer to God and a constant consecration to Mary. And all you are doing is wearing it! Nothing could be easier for attaining salvation.
Also, pray just one Rosary a day, throughout the day. You don’t have to do all 5 decades in one hit. Perhaps pray one decade in the morning, one in the afternoon, one in the evening and then 2 before bed. Whatever. Do what works for you.
With just the Scapular and the Rosary, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a saint.
St Alphonsus Liguori: ‘Those who say the Rosary daily and wear the Brown Scapular, and do a little more, will go straight to heaven.’
What a simple prescription!
You should also seek to attend Mass more than once a week. The great saints tended to attend Mass daily.
Grow in your devotion to Holy Mass and the Blessed Sacrament. Visit the Sacrament regularly if you can.
‘Do you want the Lord to give you many graces? Visit Him often.’ – St John Bosco
‘The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life.’ St John Paul II.
‘He who devoutly hears holy Mass will receive a great vigor to enable him to resist mortal sin, and there shall be pardoned to him all venial sins which he may have committed up to that hour.’ – St Augustine
Look at those words from St Augustine! Just by attending Mass and paying attention to it, we receive full forgiveness of all our sins!
‘The best way to economize time is to ‘lose’ half an hour each day attending Holy Mass.’ – Frederic Ozanam
We often think that if we attend Mass, we’ll be wasting precious time, and we’ve got so many other things to do. It is true that we are often busy, but making time to go to Mass is the best way to live the most productive day.
If you attend Mass, Jesus will be with you the entire day and life will be all the sweeter and easier. All those tasks will get done far swifter.
So there you have it.
- Mass/Eucharistic Adoration
Or MRS, like Mrs so and so. Mass, Rosary, Scapular.
I challenge anyone to give attention to just these three things and see if they don’t grow in grace powerfully.
And that, in a nutshell, is how to grow in love and how to become a saint.