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Father Muench Says...

Becoming a saint: not an impossible feat

Sept. 14, 2016

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

We, Catholics, love our saints.  Each canonized saint is assigned a day as their feast day.  For example, we always remember March 17th as St. Patrick’s Day.  I remember as a child my grandfather always remembered to send me a gift on St. William’s Feast Day.  Of course, he was a William, also. 

You may know that in several parts of the world a child’s name is determined by the name of the saint on whose Feast Day he or she is born.

The process leading up to canonization for a saint is rather complicated in our Catholic Church.  There is a special congregation in the Vatican that analyzes and advises the Holy Father as to someone being worthy of canonization.  They read about everything a person has written and teaches.  It takes quite a while for that whole process.  There was a time in the early years of the Catholic Church when it did not take so long but in the present time it seems to take a much longer time.

So, it is interesting that Mother Teresa was canonized a saint only 20 years after her death.  That is rather quick for our times.  I am sure Pope Francis intervened a bit.

Mother Teresa is now a canonized saint.  Of course, she has always been a saint but now it is official with the Catholic Church.

I am sure you all know a great deal about Mother Teresa – her story has been made popular since her canonization.  She is what you would call a headliner.  She received the Nobel Peace Prize among other distinctions during her life.  Now, her congregation of Sisters, the Missionaries of Charity, are located in every country in the world.  They are very recognizable and their work, especially among the poor, is well known.

Mother Teresa dedicated herself and her whole congregation to the care of the poor, the homeless, the sick and the dying.  Mother Teresa lived out poverty as do her Sisters. At the same time, they bring joy and happiness and love to so many.  They accept many sacrifices but always in peace and love. Saints are important to us Catholics; they are our heroes.  They show us the way.  Many Catholics say, “I could never be a Mother Teresa.”  That is not what life is all about.  Mother Teresa is an exceptional person – her faith and determination constantly challenged her to do exceptional things and to life exceptionally.  Yet, we are all called to become a saint, a saint just like Mother Teresa.

As you know, there are many, many saints with the Lord that our Church has not canonized.

There is a fellow who often comes to me for confession. I smile, because he usually begins by saying, “Well, Father, I’m no saint.”  I respond, “You better get busy.  This is the only reason we are on this earth.” 
Our path to sanctity is very different for each of us and may never be as extraordinary as Mother Teresa. 

Becoming a saint is a life journey and adventure for all of us.

Sanctity is not something that is suddenly bestowed on us when we finally meet the Savior face to face.  Each and every day we take a step along that path toward sanctity with Jesus.

Becoming a saint is not an impossible journey.  First of all, we have the Lord Jesus supporting us and showing us the way.  I believe that each and every day of our lives the Lord fills our days with opportunities to do something good and holy – making a difference in our own lives – making our world a better place.  They are often rather simple, even ordinary, yet, each are powerful moments in our way to sanctity. 

Our prayer must by that we do not miss the Lord’s challenges to us.

Someone taught me that – I use it often – “A saint is someone who does ordinary things in an extraordinary way.”  A saint care and wants to make their own lives special with the help of the Lord.

In the Eucharistic Prayer of the First Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation, we this after the consecration of the Eucharist – “Help us to work together for the coming of your Kingdom, until the hour when we stand before you, Lord, Saints among the Saints in the halls of Heaven, with Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with St. Joseph, her spouse, with the blessed Apostles and all the Saints, and with our deceased brothers and sisters, whom we humbly commend to your mercy.”

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