I’ve been pondering a question that I saw recently. I’m not sure what the answer would be. I posed the question to some family and friends after reading it as well. It must be one of the questions that makes people ponder the answer, if in fact there is one, because I didn’t get many answers from family and friends either. I’m not so sure that the question requires an answer more so than it requires some action on our part.
The question is: If you could be the patron saint of something, what would you be the patron saint of?
The next part of the question, or statement at this point, goes something like this: if your goals don’t include becoming a saint, you aren’t aiming high enough!
I talked with my brother, Fr. Joe Richards, about a similar question awhile ago. I asked him, “Joe, do you suppose that when we die we will have a conversation with St. Peter at the pearly gates that will include a question from St. Peter that goes like this, ‘Well son, you had chance to become a saint during your earthly life, tell me, how did you do?’” Fr. Joe’s response went something like this, “On the day that we enter heaven, we join all the angels and saints and you actually will join the ranks of the saints. Whether you are recognized as a saint on earth will not matter at that point.”
Well now, that’s a motivating answer! It’s one that leaves me continually contemplating and reflecting on my life. We, as Catholics, have an amazing gift. There is so much genius in Catholicism (as Matthew Kelly says). We have an arsenal of weapons that we can use on this earthly journey that help us to combat our human weaknesses. We simply need to learn what they are, learn how to use them, and then use them over and over and over again to polish away those weaknesses.
The more that I read about the saints, the more inspired I am by their heroism. Becoming a saint is hard work. It requires more dedication than any other thing we could imagine. I think about the dedication that many athletes put into becoming their best. It’s inspiring to think about their commitment to their craft. Most of these athletes commit to the team as well, they recognize that they can’t attain excellence alone. Someone is there with them on the journey.
This earthly journey towards sainthood is the same. I am quite positive that it is a lot easier to work on becoming a saint when we walk with others. Our earthly friends can challenge us to become the best version of ourselves. This happens through prayer, worship, experiencing the sacraments every chance we can, studying the faith, reading about the saints, deeply learning scripture, going on retreats, and sharing our life-stories with others.
We have several great opportunities right here at St. Joe’s parish that can help us be successful on this saintly journey. Since I’m running out of space, I’ll mention just two.
We have great retreat experiences for adults called, “Welcome, aka Christ Renews His Parish” weekends coming up. The retreats happen right here on our campus. The next men’s “Welcome” weekend is Sept. 30 th – Oct. 1 st. and the next women’s weekend is Oct. 14 th – 15 th. This is a great step to take on a journey towards sainthood. I encourage all adults in our parish to put this tool in your arsenal.
Our Catholic School continually strives to be excellent in helping children and families grow to be the best that they can be. Fr. Bennet describes our school as a “Saint Making Factory”. That is our goal. We want all families in our community to experience a faith-based education that helps them on their journey towards sainthood. There is still time to take a tour and register for this school year, we offer preschool – 8 th grade. #GoSaints
So, what would you like to be the patron saint of? Anything short of the best version of yourself isn’t good enough. Take some action today.