Mumbai Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) | A CALL TO BE A SAINT


1st November, 2016
Dn. Everest Mascarenhas. A CALL TO BE A SAINT
                          A CALL TO BE A SAINT
What does it mean to be a saint?  Who is called to be a saint? Often it is thought that sainthood, holiness is a goal reserved for a few chosen ones. St. Paul, however, speaks of God’s great plan and affirms “(God) chose us in Him (Christ), before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before Him. In love He destined us.”(Ephesians 1:4).

To be a saint is a calling to live a sanctified and holy life. Every Christian is called to be a saint (1 Cor 1:2). The word ‘saint’ comes from the Greek word ‘hagios’ which means consecrated to God, holy and sacred. ( Lumen Gentium 40/2) says “ all Christians in every state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity”. All are called to holiness, (CCC 2013). Jesus says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mtt 5: 48). To reach this holiness we should use the strength dealt out to us, by Christ’s gift, and doing the will of the Father which is “you shall be holy, for I the Lord your God is Holy.” ( Lev 19:2, 1 Pt 1: 16).

The Saints declared by the Church led a life towards perfection. A few examples like St. Teresa of Avila made great progress in the way of perfection and enjoyed mystic revelations. She had to endure great trials, but overcame them all by her indomitable (that cannot be subdued) spirit. St. Margaret Mary Alacogue also led a life of rapid progress along the way of perfection and was granted mystical revelations especially concerning the Sacred Heart of Jesus. St. Paul of the Cross a young man helped his father who was a merchant but later felt being called to a life of perfection, he gave up his worldly goods and looked after the poor and the sick. He could draw many young youth in his ministry to help him. He spent himself in apostolic works and practised austere mortification. St. Jane Frances de Chantal, married a noble man de Chantal, by whom she had six children whom she brought up religiously. After the death of her husband she placed herself under the direction of St. Francis de Sales and made great progress along the way of perfection, performing many works of charity especially among the poor and sick. Saint John of Kenty (priest) besides being an outstanding professor of the catholic faith, he excelled in personal holiness and in charity to his neighbour, so that he was a true example to his colleagues and to his students. St. Monica mother of St. Augustine, was unceasing in her prayers to God for his coversion and shed many tears for him. She strengthened her faith by her prayer and was outstanding in virtues, a wonderful example of Christian mother. ( The Life of Saints is taken from the Divine Office).

Is there some formula, some plan or design for sainthood? Yes there is, it’s given to us by our Lord Himself in the Gospel of Matthew, The Sermon on the mount. “Blessed are the poor in spirit—the meek—they that mourn—they who hunger after justice -- the merciful – the pure—the peacemakers—for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”.

There are many saintly souls not listed in the official roster of the saints who have filled this bill, who have led heroic lives of self sacrifice, of loving devotion, to parents, children and family. All such unknown saints are honoured on ‘All Saints Day’. The saints manifest in many ways the powerful and transforming presence of the Risen One; they let Christ possess their lives completely, Paul says“..and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me....”(Gal 2:20).  St. Ignatius of Antioch says “A Christian does not live for himself alone. He belongs to God”

Finally each of us is called to sainthood and holiness. Holiness consists in our being united to Christ, making our own thoughts and actions, and confirming our lives to His. It is chiefly the work of the Holy Spirit who is poured forth into our hearts through Baptism. Christian holiness is Charity lived to its fullness, seeds of God’s life and love to be cultivated by hearing His word and putting into action, by prayer, celebration of the sacraments by sacrifice and service to our brothers and sisters.

May the lives of saints encourage us along this great path leading to the fullness of eternal life. St. Francis d’Assisi said “It is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life”.

Dn. Everest Mascarenhas.