In My Father's House

Poems, Prayers, Inspirations, Photos and Musings about life, love and what it means to be a child of the Father

Monday, November 07, 2005

Be a Saint: Why Not?

Believe it or not when I was kid I wanted to be a saint. Back then my understanding of saints were people who had mystical and magical powers. I was fascinated by stories of extraordinary Christians who performed miraculous deeds. St. Martin de Porres topped my list of admirable saints. I imagined him levitating in an empty church sweeping cobwebs off chandeliers and stained glass windows. In my child's eyes I saw him feeding roaches and mice with breadcrumbs from the convent's pantry. I wanted to know how he could tell ants and mosquitoes to keep away from people.

Next to my list were children saints whose mouths expelled rose petals and leprous saints whose gangrenous wounds exuded heavenly scents. I also had such fond respect for saints who battled demons and evil spirits though at that young age I wouldn't want to have their power of exorcism. Saints who possess the ability to cure people at will also figured in my imagination. I wanted to imitate them, to go around our neighborhood touching the foreheads of those who were afflicted by malaria. We had a neighbor whose three daughters were born deaf and mute. I wanted to touch their tongues and ears so they could talk to us normally. We had a hunchback playmate who was in and out of the hospital because pus had to be extracted from his back. I, too, wanted to cure him of his misery.

When I was a bit older I heard of saints who could be in two places at the same time. I wondered how would it be like to be in the province doing nothing while also attending school. I wondered which places I would visit and which relatives would I surprise by my bi-locating act. But nothing fascinated me more than saints who could read minds. I imagined looking into peoples' eyes and seeing in all clarity what their thoughts and concerns were. Wouldn't it be wonderful, I asked myself, to read through your teachers' thoughts, to guess accurately your classmates' ideas without actually doing some research?

However, I also learned how difficult were the lives of these saints were. They had to pray all the time. They had to do unimaginable things, great sacrifices, exemplary works of charity and mercy. They had to watch their tongue, guard their thoughts and control their actions. I realized that I couldn't do that at all times. Then my desire to be a saint like Martin or Pancratius or Rita became just a childhood fantasy. I was convinced that saints were born not made.

A few days ago, in Fr. Jojo's homily, he carefully differentiated the saints from ordinary mortals like us. He said that saints are people, like us, in every way except for one thing: their desires to please God exceeds their desire to be great. They are people whose constant preoccupation is not to be good, per se. They are people whose unflagging diligence at prayer and works of mercy are a result of their great love for God. In effect, he was saying, that constancy in one's desire to please God, makes saints in us. It is not powers or the miracles attributed to saints that make them great, but their great love for God which enable them to do great and wonderful things. And there are a host of other saints, known and unknown, who did not manifest amazing powers over nature, Ignatius and Alphonsus Rodriguez were among them. Ignatius founded a religious order that changed the world, Rodriquez was merely a lowly brother who opened doors to pilgrims and visitors. But they were both canonized as saints.

It is not therefore in the kind of work that one does that makes him/her a saint. Rather it is the amount of love one puts in his/her work that makes him/her a saint. Maybe it's not too late for you or me to be a saint...

2 Comments:

  • At 10:00 AM, Anonymous angel <> said…

    pangarap ko din nung bata ako na maging santo. tingin ko ngayon dapat palakasin ko pa ang pagmamahal para sa kanya. salamat gwapo! miss na kita. Ü

     
  • At 7:52 AM, Blogger Noel Y. Bava said…

    not too late, remember st. magdalene? he he he!

     

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