Last April 2014, we witnessed the canonization of two great popes: John Paul II and John XXIII. Today (on Sept. 27), Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, successor to Saint Josemaria and first Prelate of Opus Dei, is to be numbered among the blessed; the ceremony taking place in Madrid, Spain. These events make us ponder on the significance of the beatification and canonization.
Pope Francis, in referring to the saints, said, “God chooses certain people so that we might see more clearly the reality of sanctity, so that we might see that it is He who sanctifies . . . This is the first rule of sanctity: Christ must increase and we must decrease.” (Homily, 9 May 2014).
The examples of the saints inspire us to imitate them. The canonization and beatification reminds us that it is possible for us to be like them –SAINTS! We have the mistaken idea that saints are super heroes. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote: “It is not for me,’ we are led to think, ‘because I do not feel capable of attaining heroic virtue. It is too high a goal.’ Holiness then becomes a thing reserved for some “greats” whose images we see on the altars, and who are completely different from us ordinary sinners. But this is a mistaken notion of holiness…”
A saint is not superior to others; he can be very weak, with many mistakes in his life. What makes him different is that he keeps on struggling – getting up after each fall. He does not live extraordinary life. What makes him holy is the love and care that goes into the ordinary experiences of each day. It is his profound contact with God, becoming His friend. It is letting God work, the Only One who can give him the graces and the help to achieve heaven – to be eternally with the Blessed Trinity and to belong forever to the great family of God.
Today, let us resolve to begin our journey to become saints.
(Reference: “Sanctity: Everyone’s Vocation” an article by Bishop Javier Echevarria published in “Palabra;” “You can become a Saint!” by Mary Ann Budnik; “Letting God Work” an article by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in L’Osservatore Romano, October 6, 2002.)