Hot take: everything I know, I learned from the Saints.
OK, that might be a stretch. St. Jude may not have taught me the quadratic formula, but his intercession definitely helped me pass Algebra. St. Therese didn’t answer all of my life’s questions through a single rose novena, but she taught me how to rely on the Father through periods of discernment.
I can confidently say that the testimony, guidance, and intercession of the communion of saints have impacted not only myself, but the Church as a whole (and even the world!). Their stories, and lives are an incredible witness to the faithfulness of God as well as an enduring witness to the Truth.
If you read about any life of a saint, you’re guaranteed to find someone who overcame their share of challenges and did so with an unwavering dedication to the message of the gospel. As Christians, we can find inspiration from these witnesses because we are called to with the same zeal and spread the gospel with our lives.
However, you and I probably know that this call isn’t easy and this Truth isn’t always well received. In fact, this is a realization that we share with the communion of Saints; many of which suffered greatly for their proclamation and endured punishment – and in some cases, death – for their witness to the greatest Love.
Today, we can experience our own hesitancy to share our convictions out of the very real fear of rejection, isolation or cancelation. But take heart! Our generation may have coined the phrase “hot takes,” but I would argue that some of the hottest takes came from the saints themselves. Here are some of my favorite examples:
“If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.” -St. Augustine
“Anyone who seeks truth seeks God, whether or not he realizes it.” -St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
“A church that doesn’t provoke any crises, a gospel that doesn’t unsettle, a word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin, a word of God that doesn’t touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed — what gospel is that?” -St. Oscar Romero
“The truth is the truth even if no one believes it, and a lie is a lie even if everyone believes it.” -Venerable Fulton Sheen
“Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.” -St. John Paul the Great
“It is better to say one Our Father fervently and devoutly than a thousand with no devotion and full of distraction.” -St. Edmund
“Love to be real, it must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self.” -St. Teresa of Calcutta
“The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist.” -Pope St. Gregory the Great
“Pure love… knows that only one thing is needed to please God: to do even the smallest things out of great love – love, and always love.” -St. Faustina
“If I love, there will be no hell for me.” -St. Josemaria Escriva
“It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. Bring love into your home, for this is where our love for each other must start.” -St. Teresa of Calcutta
On Our Lives
“In doing what we ought we deserve no praise, because it is our duty.” -St. Augustine
“You cannot be half a saint; you must be a whole saint or no saint at all.” -St. Therese of Lisieux
“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” -St. Francis de Sales
“Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?” -St. Gerard Majella
“No earthly pleasures, no kingdoms of this world can benefit me in any way. I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire. Do not talk about Jesus Christ as long as you love this world.” -St Ignatius of Antioch
Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” -St. Pope John XXIII
“We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.” -St. Oscar Romero
Be a saint.
Take heart, my friend. The grace that accompanied these men and women to sainthood is the same grace that is available to you and I. You have what it takes. In the words of St. John Paul the Great: “Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization, and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows ‘what is in man’. He alone knows it.”