When you think of Sainthood, you might think of stain-glassed windows, or that “Book of Saints” that your parents got you when you were little (seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it!). While these are beautiful mediums through which to learn about Saints, it is much more relevant to become a Saint. In fact, you must become a Saint! Only Saints go to heaven, and everyone in heaven is a Saint. Most Saints never make it in the stained-glass window, or in the book. Saints like your grandmother, your teacher, your next-door neighbor, the Down-syndrome girl that you know from school, and her parents who love her so much. These are real, every day Saints.
You must be a Saint, and you can be a Saint! To become a Saint, you must possess two virtues that are in short supply in our present-day youth culture: courage and commitment. Consider the lives of two Saints who demonstrated the virtues of courage and commitment. St. Gianna Molla (1922-1962) was a pregnant Italian mother who faced a terrible choice: give birth to her child and likely die from complications to childbirth, or have an abortion. She had the child, and died shortly thereafter. She was courageous in the face of death. She was committed to motherhood and to her family. All her life she lived as a Saint, and that empowered her to make the right choice at the right moment, that of sacrificial love.
Likewise, St. Edmund Campion (1540-1581) was a priest was faithful to the Church in the midst of a hostile culture. He lived in England at a time of religious persecution. Roman Catholicism was illegal. Any man who was found to be ordained a priest would be arrested and might suffer the death penalty. Knowing this to be his fate, St. Edmund traveled to France to become a seminarian. He joined the Jesuits, and returned to his native England as a courageous Priest. He was executed by the State, having been quoted as saying, “ So the faith was planted (in England); so it must be restored.”
Every day, St. Gianna and St. Edmund chose to be courageous and committed. In ordinary, everyday life, do you find it hard to be a Saint? When you face of an environment hostile to Sainthood, be virtuous! When you encounter choices that are seemingly impossible, be virtuous! Do not become a cynical, selfish, arrogant drop-out like so many of your peers. Become a Saint! From your saintly life, your vocation, whether priest, religious, deacon, married, or single, will arise. Be courageous, be committed, be faithful.