Healthy Soul/Living Out Your Faith/My Life/Teen Life

When the Saints Seem too Cool for You

Joseph protected Mary and Jesus as they fled into Egypt to escape Herod’s systematic killing of baby boys.

Maria Goretti refused to give into and let a man sexually assault her, even when it cost her her life.

Jose Sanchez del Rio was brutally tortured and killed for boldly refusing to renounce his faith.

Maximilian Kolbe boldly preached the faith in the media and continued to preach during his imprisonment in Auschwitz, where he sacrificed his life for the life of a fellow inmate.

Mother Teresa joyfully lived in extreme poverty, while caring for the poorest of the poor and the sickest of the sick.

John Paul II was a beloved, charismatic, engaging leader who loved every person he encountered with the love of Christ.

These are just a handful of anecdotes from the lives of the hundreds of canonized saints of our Church.

We’re all called to be saints — to give our lives fully to God like the saints that have gone before us. Naturally, then, we should look to canonized saints as examples and role models. But how on earth are we supposed to be saints when those who have gone before us have done such remarkable things?

When Sainthood Seems Impossible

Hearing these stories can make sainthood seem absolutely unattainable. I’ve always heard and believed the truth that I’m called to sainthood, so I want to emulate saints’ lives, but more often than not, that has seemed incredibly unrealistic.

My reality is struggling to wake up on time, remember my parents’ birthdays, and fill my gas tank up before the light comes on. How can I expect to live a life of radical poverty, sacrifice my life for another, or start a new religious order when I can hardly manage to make microwave popcorn without burning it? The despair of questions like this sunk deeply into my experience felt all too real for me not very long ago. I would hear the magnificent stories of the saints, read their endlessly poetic writings about God, feel inspired and in awe, but think to myself “that is not me, my life is way too boring for sainthood.”

Looking Beyond the Highlights

But then I thought about my Instagram. And my Twitter. And my Snapchat. I’m constantly posting the highlights of my life on these social media accounts — photos of my best friends and me on our latest road trip, videos of the concerts I go to, and the unique musings I might have swirling about in my brain that I think are worth sharing.

I don’t post pictures of the cereal I ate for breakfast, I don’t go live during my morning commute, and I don’t share a tweet every time I brush my teeth. These ordinary moments of my life simply aren’t share-worthy. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t part of what shapes my life and who I am, they’re just not the highlights that the rest of the world needs to see. The ordinary moments of life might seem rather “blah,” but they certainly matter — how I choose to live in those ordinary moments is still just as much a part of my life as the more exciting moments.

I have to think that, in the same way, we only see the highlights of what the saints experienced in their lives because the most mundane moments simply aren’t the ones that history focuses on. We only hear about the most magnificent stories of their lives because those are the high points that stand out — that doesn’t mean that they didn’t live through ordinary, unremarkable moments, days, and seasons just like the rest of us.

Sainthood is Radical but it Doesn’t Always Look Radical

The saints lived incredible, heroic, nearly unbelievable moments because their love for God was just as radical in those moments as it was in the most un-incredible moments of their lives. They were able to surrender to such incredible trials, circumstances, and accomplish such feats because they resolved to love God through the most basic moments — they kept their gaze on God as they navigated their day-to-day and that allowed them to keep their gaze on Him when they were most challenged.

This meant they prayed when life was boring. They sought the face of Christ when the people around them seemed annoying. They continued to pursue God, even when it felt like it would have been way easier to abandon Him and the life He called them to. Additionally, they found joy in those ordinary moments — even when life seemed the most “blaah,” the saints, aware of their identity in God and His love for them, knew they still had a reason to be joyful.

Our Lives Don’t Need to Look Radical to be Radical

We’ll likely not find ourselves in moments nearly as incredible as what some of the saints found themselves in, but that doesn’t mean our love for God can’t be as complete as theirs. It is a radical thing to know and love God in every moment of our lives. We are all called to the radical love that the saints lived in every moments — the “share-worthy” ones and the less exciting ones.

We do this by remaining persistent in our relationship with Him — seeking Him in prayer and in the sacraments, even when it seems dull, even when it doesn’t feel pleasant, exciting, or thrilling. When we’re able to choose God, even when doing so doesn’t seem like the most exciting thing is when we show Him how deeply we love Him.

We don’t need radical circumstances to love God in radical ways like the saints did. As long as we seek and acknowledge His presence in every moment of our lives — from the most ordinary to the most amazing — we can choose to meet Him in those moments and when we do, even the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

About the Author

Leah Murphy

As a graduate of John Paul the Great Catholic University, with a background in video and a passion for that wild place where faith and culture meet, she lives to tell God's love story to the world, in the digital space. Dwelling in California, she spends all her free time doing all the things with her friends, enjoying the best music out there, and going on every adventure that comes her way.

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