I recently had the honor of taking a tour of the Holy Family Mission in Morrilton with my local Catholic faith group, Ignite.
On this tour, Luz Sandoval-Lord and Raymond Freyaldenhoven, also known as Brother Joseph, showed us what they do at the Mission, including retreats and conferences. They also taught us about the many saints they had statues of and had made videos about. While explaining who each statue represented, they kept returning to one message that really stuck in my mind: “The greatest saints are yet to come.”
Saints are pillars of our Catholic faith. They are the stories we look toward for guidance, advice and inspiration. They are examples of who we are meant to be as Catholic Christians.
Could people in the present and future truly be equal to or greater than the saints of the past? After thinking on this topic for a while, I came to the conclusion that the answer is yes, if we choose to be.
When we had finished the tour, we returned to the kitchen to discuss what we had taken away from the tour and how it inspired our faith lives. While discussing the different saints, they taught us about St. Gerard Majella’s journey to sainthood. He had been denied many times to join the religious life because of his health, but St. Gerard wanted very badly to become a priest. He discovered that the local priests were leaving on a mission trip, but they had informed his mother to lock him in his room to avoid him following them.
St. Gerard was dedicated, though, so he left his locked room during the night to join his local priests on a mission. He did this very spontaneously and left behind only a note for his mother stating: “I’ve gone to become a saint.” He made the difficult decision to leave behind his life to become a saint.
Although it sounds simple to simply choose to be saintly, making that choice is complex and strenuous. In every situation we cross in life, we have to make a choice toward sainthood. The right choice is almost never the easiest and the easiest choice is almost never the right one. We have to wake up every morning and steel ourselves to making smart, good, holy decisions.
It seems impossible at times but I believe sainthood is an achievable goal. No one is born a saint, they have to become one. Neither is anyone born perfect, it is our human nature to make mistakes and slip up.
Luckily, our Lord is a merciful and forgiving God. He knows our flaws and understands our hesitations. Forgiveness is always available for those who ask for it. That is the reason we can become saints. God forgives our mistakes and aids us in becoming holy.
The saints of today cannot be like the saints of yesterday nor can they be like the saints of tomorrow. Each and every one of us faces unique challenges and situations. Society is ever changing and so are the evils within it.
But the saints can change too. We can become the saints who deal with our present society’s sins. I can stand up for what I believe in and change the terrors happening around me. I can be a saint of today through my everyday decisions. Through my trip to the Mission and hearing the story of St. Gerard, I have realized sainthood is possible even for me.
Sarah Duvall is a senior at Sacred Heart School. She attends Sacred Heart Church in Morrilton.
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