THE CATHOLIC POST
ainthood can appear unattainable for the average Joe. At least for myself, when I think about sainthood, I picture a cloistered religious meditating on the won- ders of God. But what if you have football practice or dance class? What if you have a career or bills to pay? What if you are just an ordinary, decent person? Is there such a thing as a holy, average Joe? There is a sentiment in our culture that if you are religious, then you can enter a religious vocation. If you are wild, then you enter into a wild lifestyle for many years and maybe, eventually, one day get married. Is there no room for holiness in everyday life? I would like to inform the culture that having a relationship with God and following His commands is for everyone, including single, married, and religious alike.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO THE SAME GOAL
So, back to the question of what is a holy, average Joe? Many people dont ever try to pick up a saint book, but if you do, you may start to have a thought creep in that this is unattainable for you. Yet, if everyone in heaven is holy and therefore a saint, how are you supposed to attain it as well? Perhaps you are not a cloistered religious, but have you ever stopped to think that you and a religious could have the same goal of holiness? Maybe you just need to execute in a different way. SUNDAY, JULY 4, 2021
In My Father's House
do not like green eggs and ham! I do not like them, Sam-I-Am! No, this isnt a rant about cancel culture (which is itself a bit of a rant by times). I would simply like to borrow Dr. Seuss attitude - and rhyme scheme - for my own rant: I do not like spots on my hands. I wish these signs of age were banned! Creeping age hasn't offended me too much by making my joints a little creakier. Having been blessed with nothing serious in terms of muscular- skeletal challenges, Im able to do the stretching and light exercise that keeps things moving. By the same token, losing follicles and gaining forehead is something thats been happening gradually for so many years that Ive come to a certain peace about it. However, these brown spots - I find the term liver spots even less palat- able - seemed to have appeared almost overnight and are most unwelcome. As a child, these were the signs of age I noticed on my elders, and finding them on my own hands, face and arms is a real reality check. The train of life is chugging along.
A PLAN AT EVERY AGE AND STAGE
My artist sister-in-law, Dawna Gallagher of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, posted the attached Facebook drawing that pretty much describes the situation as I am expe- riencing it. Like dandelions on the lawn, having seen Illustration by Dawna Gallagher
Becoming spotty - aging, but still going somewhere
one spot, they seem to be everywhere. Furthermore, repeating Lady Macbeths decree, Out . . . spot! Out, I say, seems to have little impact. Of course, like dande- lions, the spots wont last forever, because this body wont last forever. That reminds me of what Jesus said about the grass in the ield that grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow. (Luke 12: 28) Gulp. Yet, earlier in the same passage the Lord speaks also about how, Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. (Luke 12:7) Granted, he wouldnt have to count too high for me these days, but the point is he cares. At every age and stage he has a plan for me.
BEARING FRUIT, EVEN IN OLD AGE
I know the aging process is not going to reverse course. After Mass recently, my wife and I were reflecting with a family friend about how our dads and her husband had all passed away four years ago in the summer of 2017. I shared how I was increasingly feeling my own advancing years these days. She gently reminded me, Thats the way its supposed to be - were going somewhere. Then, about a week later we were called (by one of agings less-gentle reminders) to an elderly neighbors place: shed fallen hours before and couldnt get up. We made sure she was as comfortable as possible and sum- moned the EMTs. Thank God, nothing was broken, and her vital signs were OK. She didnt have to go to the hospi- tal this time. Yes, aging happens, and sometimes it isnt much fun, but as Christians we believe we will be welcomed - spots and all - into our Fathers house, where a room has been prepared for each of us. Moreover, we never know when God will be able to make use of us down here. As the late British novelist Muriel Spark wrote, Be on the alert to recognize your prime at whatever time of life it may occur. Indeed, the Bible speaks of how we can bear fruit even in old age. (Psalm 92:15) Even if from a spotty tree.
PAUL THOMAS MOORE is a Catholic commentator and singer- songwriter. He and wife Mary Louise attend St. Mary of Lourdes in Germantown Hills. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Ill t ti b D G ll h
Sanctity in a secular world - can you be a holy, average Joe?
Lets consider this from a logical perspective. Take math for example. Usually, there are many ways to solve a math problem. However, if you solve for X, you still end up with the same answer regardless if youve used a formula or a handwritten analysis. You still end up with the same answer whether you used a calculator or solely used mental math. You arrived at the same solution. Are you a bad person if you used a calculator compared to the person who did it all in their head? No. Depending on the persons natural abilities and ten- dencies, they may need more time, an extra eraser, or even a calculator; they may finish the test in 10 minutes without one marking on their scratch sheet. Now enough of math analogies or I may start to con- fuse myself, but the route to the answer may be faster or slower, may have more or less mistakes, or may look differently, but the point is that you arrive at the correct result.
WE HAVE TO BE CONNECTED TO GOD
Sainthood, I realize, will not look the same for all because we are not all the same. The common ground here is that we all are called to execute the virtues and the will of God whetherweareatclass,thegym,theice,ortheconvent. So, on a practical point, how can I become a saint through ordinary life? In order to become a saint, we have to be connected to God. This is accomplished through frequenting the sacraments, praying devotionals like the rosary, doing morning and evening prayer, attending adoration, and reading Scripture. If you are crunched for time, make a quick prayer. If something good happens, pray, Thank you, Jesus. If you are stressed, pray, Jesus, help me. Through this deep connection with the Lord, we are transformed so that in our daily words and our daily ac- tions those we encounter notice we are different. How we treat people, how we live our lives, and the decisions and choices we make should point others to Jesus. Yet it is no longer I, but Christ living in me. (Galatians 2:20) So, the question is, are you ready to bring sanctity to a secular world?
CAITIE CROWLEY is a Catholic millennial and a member of St. Jude Parish, Peoria. She graduated summa cum laude with a master of science degree in information design and strategy from Northwestern University. She is a human resources communications representative at a Fortune 100 company and has done writing for FOCUS-SEEK21, Live Action, Human Life Action, and Human Defense Initiative. You can get in touch with Caitie on Twitter (@CaitieCrowley) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sainthood will not look the same for all because we are not all the same. The common ground here is that we all are called to execute the virtues and the will of God whether we are at class, the gym, the office, or the convent.Previous Page