Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Amen, Father!

A survey, an observation, and a question:

The survey: Do you, the reader, want to be a saint? (You can raise your hand, unless you are at work and your co-workers will wonder why your hand is in the air.)

The observation: When Br. Andrew and I were doing a parish mission last week, we spoke with a large number of grade school and high school students. When we would ask the first or second-graders how many of them wanted to be saints they all shot their hands in the air. Most of the third and fourth-graders also raised their hands, although not as quickly. The fifth and sixth-graders were divided; approximately a third of them raised their hands. As you might guess, none of the seventh or eighth-graders raised their hands, as with the higher grades, except for the occasional junior or senior wise-guy who would do so to make his friends laugh. In most adult congregations very few people raise their hands that they want to be a saint.

The question: Why do we get more stupid as we get older? That is, why do we lose the desire to be a saint? Perhaps we translate the question as wanting to be canonized as a saint, which truthfully is not something within our realm of choice or aspiration. In a general way a “saint” is simply someone who goes to Heaven. And the hands usually go up about wanting to go there! But perhaps for most of us there is a reluctance to strive for heroic sanctity. We tend to think that it is already too late for that. Also, part of us may be quick to count the cost of sanctity and reluctant to detach from whatever vice is holding us back. Part of us may think of the saints as less human, whereas they are in reality the people who experience life more abundantly (see Jn 10:10) and love to a greater degree. The example of so many saints (yes, even the canonized ones beginning with the good thief, St. Dismas) tells us that it is never too late to go for it.

Fr. Richard Roemer, CFR
Most Blessed Sacrament Friary, Newark, NJ

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this article..

5/04/2007 05:20:00 AM  

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