Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Saint Maker

 Willem Joseph Laquy - credit Wikimedia Commons
God is determined to make saints out of us. And believe me, He has an endless supply of saint making material and most of these materials are other people. If you ask God for a particular virtue you will get plenty of chances to practice said virtue.

For instance, did you ever notice that when you ask God to increase your patience, everyone, and I mean everyone, wakes up grouchy the following morning? Including the cat? You wonder who stole your family and replaced them with the sour-faced aliens glaring at you across the breakfast table. Let the games begin.

 I won't tell even you what happened after I prayed the Litany of Humility by Cardinal Merry Del Val but let me assure you that it wasn't pretty and involved a sick person, a clothespin, and a ton of scrubbing in the ladies room at church. And that was just the morning.

Did I mention that I only prayed the prayer once? I planned to pray it regularly, I really did, but I'm still recovering from the first time. I figure a year or two should do the trick.  I really DO want humility just not quite yet.

Afraid? Who me? Hey, if  procrastinating worked for St. Augustine it should work wonders for regular people, right?

 Of course, I use the term "regular" people loosely. In truth...there is no such thing as a "regular" person.  The irate lady honking her car horn at you to make you go faster? The apple of God's eye. That screaming toddler hanging from your leg? His beloved (albeit grumpy) child. And that bald, chubby man behind you at the grocery store impatiently drumming his fingers on the checkout counter as you paw your way through your messy purse trying to find that dumb rewards card? A saint-in-the-making. If you were to see his soul with the glorious indwelling of the Trinity your jaw would drop in awe.  We are, each and every one, children of the King. And the glory of God surrounds us. It's a good thing that God blinded us to a degree or not much work would get done here on earth. We would spend all our days lost in wonder at the glory of God, both in ourselves and in others. We are temples of the Holy Spirit and this is no small thing.

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.
                                                                                       C.S. Lewis

Chew on that one for a while. Leave it to C.S. Lewis to state the truth so bluntly. Made me think twice about yelling at my child, that's for sure. I am likely losing my temper with a future saint. I came across this quote by C.S. Lewis last year and  to say it affected me is an understatement. With a few simple words it puts life into its proper perspective, doesn't it?

We may not see this splendor in others yet...but it is there.

God sanctifies his people and usually uses ordinary, everyday circumstances to do so.  I joked around at the beginning of my post about the means He uses to form a holy people for himself but in all actuality... it's no joke. The everyday circumstances of our lives (that may seem so pointless, monotonous or possibly disgusting  in our eyes) have the ability to produce great saints if we cooperate with the grace God gives us. Virtues have the chance to flourish and vices can be overcome just by our day to day responses to the challenges the Lord allows to be thrown in our path. There are no circumstances on this earth that God cannot use as saint making material. Even scrubbing a public
bathroom that a stranger was very sick in.

Sorting through junk mail, scrubbing floors, taking care of children, dealing with frazzled customers - each small (and large) detail of our daily lives has God's signature written all over it.

It's all saint making material...every single bit of it.

We choose whether to use it as such.

What can I say? I mean I was traumatized.

But you are "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises" of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
                                                                      1 Peter 2:9


  1. Wonderful post, wonderful quote!
    It can be tempting to become arrogant as a Christian and human, but if we can see the Christ-light in others our whole life changes. :)

  2. Spot on.
    In the last few years there has been talk of the 'Universal call to holiness' which is absolutely right but it is a new term for an old concept.

    Paul touched on it in his letters when he addressed them to the Saints and the Faithful in Phillipia (and other churches). His context was in the here and now and so we must live. (To be fair he also addressed it quite heavily elsewhere but it is a nice illustration)

    It's all about living a faithful and true life. Faithful to Christ as he was to us and true to the Gospel and teaching he left us. Using his sacraments and helping and encouraging each other. We have been given the teaching, the tools and the Holy Spirit to help us. All we have to do is provide the desire and the humility to know when we need to ask for help.

    Once again - great post.

    (Oh and the bald chubby guy - thats me)

  3. Mary,
    I loved both posts. (Yes I know I am cheating with commenting on both in one :))
    I especially liked the one about running into everyone you know when you look the worst~God loves to use that one with me.
    There is so much truth we don't think about in Lewis' quote. If we truly looked at each other as souls, not as mere people, we would treat each other better. Although I am still wondering about the one or two Pharisees in my life~Hmm, they will take a little more grace on my part I think.
    Thanks for two excellent posts.

  4. Jade,
    It kind of changes a person's perspective of others, doesn't it? The quote by C.S. Lewis runs through my mind all the time :) Even if I do make a mistake I am a lot quicker to apologize!

  5. And, isn't it humbling to owe such gratitude to the people who irritate us the most?! If we had to get this all right before we die, I might, one day, become the oldest living person:-P God bless, Vicky (who's hoping for mercy...)

  6. LF,
    I thought that was you but wasn't absolutely sure so I didn't say hello ;) If you had your Harley shirt on I would have been quicker to recognize you. Lol!

    Great comment! I loved your recent post which spoke about using all the ordinary moments in our lives in extraordinary ways...even our jobs. It reminded me of St. Therese.

  7. Karin,
    That's not cheating, that's using your time wisely!

    Oh yes, God has used that one on me too, obviously ;) Works on women better than men I think (because of our culture).

    It's not easy to look at people this way. When my daughter disobeys me for the third time I struggle to keep the thought that she is immortal and a future saint in my mind. Yet, these very circumstances are teaching both of us in one way or the other.

    Thanks for commenting!

  8. Vicky,
    Humbling it is! One day we'll be thanking the people who drove us crazy...what a thought:)
    God bless,
    Mary (who's hoping for mercy too...)

  9. Mary, I think God has sent you my way. If I continue read your blog regularly, my chances of becoming a saint are good. You offer so much in spiritual guidance. Thank you!

  10. OK - a few things
    1. I am now having trouble posting comments on YOUR blog. Weird.
    2. I am cheating too, like Karinann, as I am commenting on two posts at the same time
    3. I love both of these posts. It shows how we do not have to be monks living in a monastery on a mountain top. We just need to meet God where we are.
    Well done!
    God bless!

  11. Esther,
    You must be quite a prayer warrior because I have had a grace-filled week! Wow! I was going to send you an e-mail telling you to "Please keep doing whatever it is you are doing!" I think you are upping my chances too, Esther!

  12. We may well see sainthood in others. But, looking at it another way, how do others see us?

    Whoever we are, parents, teachers, priests, nuns, doctors, lawyers or whatever; we are all role models for others.

    Whatever we do in life, whether we're celebrities or not, there is always someone looking at us and ready to emulate us. It could be our children, our friends, our neighbours or whomever. They may well see something in us, good or bad, which they want and wish to copy.

    Do they see sainthood in us?

    When we look into the mirror in the morning, do we see Christ there?

    God bless.

  13. Colleen,
    1. Uh oh, Blogger is at it again.
    2. Yup, you are cheating. (Kidding!)
    3. Thank you :)

    I figured I'd take them in order since you went through the trouble of numbering your list and everything. That's worth two comments in itself! Lol! God bless you too, Colleen!

  14. LOL

    I came back to see if I could comment easier this time. It is working!

    Thank you for taking the trouble to number your comments to my comments

  15. Victor,
    This is a good question to ask ourselves. No...I take that back, it's not just a good question to ask ourselves, it's the greatest question we can ask ourselves. Hopefully, the answer is yes. Thank you, Victor.

  16. Colleen,
    Thanks for letting me know. I know a lot of people have been running into this problem lately!

    As for numbering the comments: anything for a friend ;) God bless!

  17. Mary super post. Very thought provoking on the truth. So much we learn from others good and bad on our journey. Blessings.

  18. I had the same problem on my blog with people having difficulty leaving comments.

    There are two ways to solve..

    1) the commenter can chose the NAME/URL profile, and follow those instructions.

    2) was make your comment form a pop up instead of attached to the post.

  19. Mary333
    There is another way to help with the commenting.

    Log into your blogger account
    Go to your dashboard, make sure you are in the OLD interface.

    Click on settings
    click on comments

    Scroll down to Placement of Comment form and unchoose embedded, opting for either full page or pop up.

    It helps, Trust me

  20. Thanks, JBR, I'm glad you liked it :)

  21. Puff,
    Thank you for letting me know how to do this! The commenting problem has been driving me nuts and I appreciate your input. It sounds easy to do which is a big plus for me :)

  22. Wow! That was easy! Thanks Puff!

  23. Mary, I've just passed onto you a stylish blog award. I hope you will accept it - you have a great blog. Now, I'm going back to read the post I just commented on;-)

  24. What am I talking about?! I've already read this post - and commented, too!! No need to feel guilty:)

    (It was a great post BTW)

  25. Mary-I love the CS Lewis quote! Thank you so much for this excellent blog-your words mean so much to me! It's so helpful to remember that we are temples of the Holy Spirit-it brings about a great responsibility to always walk in His ways in all we say and do!

  26. Vicky,
    Thank you! Of course I accept it! And I appreciate it too :)

  27. Anne,
    I loved this C.S. Lewis quote too. It's one of my favorites because it helps us to view others in a different light. Thank you for your kind words, my friend. You've been a source of encouragement for me since day one. I hope you and your family are doing well! God bless!

  28. Hi Mary,

    Just a tad behind and commenting on more than one post the toll road post. EZ pass is my method of choice, even though I don't use toll roads often, I find them time savers and I don't have to look for change!

    The post about regular people and simple laws, both are excellent posts. I love the C S Lewis quote. I once heard a mother pray, "Lord, help me see my children as you see them." It got me to thinking and I try to pray, "Lord, help me see all people as you see them." I said I TRY, I didn't say I always succeed in seeing them that way!!

    Have a great week.

  29. I was at work, and commented on your last three posts and they are puff in smoke as are the other comments I did while at work. I take this to be the Lord telling me to do my duty to the company paying me and not steal time for couple quick reads and comments. The others have captured the thoughts well. You have been on a roll, sister. Keep the beautiful meditations coming!

  30. Mary,
    That's a good prayer and I might just have to borrow it :)

  31. Hi JBR! Sending you a hug too!

  32. Colleen (ID),
    Lol! Comments have been doing that a lot lately!
    Thank you for your words of encouragement. I wish I could take the time to post seriously every day but you know how it is :)

  33. Oh,Mary...loved this one. Thanks

  34. Thanks, Nanette! I'm sorry I responded so late to your comment - I don't have my comments hooked up to my e-mail anymore so I don't always see them. Hugs and prayers!