When you think of saints, do you exclude yourself?

We hear about the lives of the saints and there can be a temptation to say, “That’s only for people who are perfect” or “They did things or acted in ways that I could never do today” or “God made them saints, but I can’t become a saint.” Sometimes we focus on what we cannot do and do not focus on what God can do.

Truth is, Jesus came into a broken world and showed what life looks like when we trust the Father’s plan for us. Life is better with God than when we exclude him. When we focus only on what we can do, it does not have the same effect. A holy way of life either becomes self-righteous and unappealing, or it becomes unattainable. Yet, God is calling you to be a saint. In his divine providence, he chose you to live in just this time, in just this period of brokenness to reveal to the world the beauty of life with God in a world that lives increasingly without God. So why do we not believe that sainthood is possible for us?

Pope St. John XXIII said, “The explanation lies in a certain cleavage between faith and practice. Their inner, spiritual unity must be restored, so that faith may be the light and love the motivating force of all their actions.” St. John XXIII urges us to focus on what God can do and then live our lives in response to that. Sainthood is believing not that we can be great, but believing that God is great and that trusting in his plan is better than any other plan.

Consider St. Francis Xavier Cabrini: Witnessing immigrants to the United States uneducated and unnoticed, she paid attention to them; taught them basics. She did not suddenly appear declaring, “I have to save these people with my strength and power.” She thought, rather, “God made these people on purpose. They are suffering. I will use the strength that I've been given and the influence I have to serve and love them as Jesus has served and loved me.” Or remember St. Martin de Porres who, seeing a beggar needy and cold, cut his cloak in two and shared half with the poor man.

Teaching, sharing, and the simple act of noticing that other people exist, these are not amazing accomplishments; these everyday responses are choices that you, we, and everyone can make daily. For Mother Cabrini and Martin de Porres, there was no cleavage between faith and practice; they simply chose willingly to respond with the same love they had received from God and so became saints.

Friends, do not exempt yourselves from becoming a saint. On our own, none of us merits holiness; we can’t make ourselves saints. Living life with love, however, and manifested by concrete daily actions is something to which we all are called. Trust in what God desires for you. Let Him take you beyond your limits to become the saint God is calling today.

Cato is director of the Office of Life, Justice and Peace for the Archdiocese of Portland. Fr. Libra, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Parish, is director of pro-life activities in the archdiocese.