Do you want to be a saint? I certainly do. And at the same time...I don't. What I mean to say is that I want the fruits of a sanctified life; but a life of sacrifice and the carrying of my cross? Well...not so much. I want to want it for the glory of my Lord, Jesus Christ, and for the salvation of my soul but know that I have an imperfect love. My burden becomes heavy because I imagine that a life of comfort is a sign of blessing and I misunderstand suffering. I congratulate myself on virtue when it would be easy even for a wicked person to behave. Desiring to love is not the same as loving; the same way that reading about prayer is not the same as praying. I long for a heart that is not afraid to love with abandon.
Recently, a priest in my parish started a Saints Club for those of us who are interested in loving and serving the Lord more than we ever have before. In his inaugural article (Are You a Saint? ), Fr. Richard Bona writes:
What would you think if someone who is supposed to love you would tell you: “I know it is hard to love you 100%, but I think you should be satisfied if I just love you with a 40% effort.” We would reject that “offer” right away. So, why are we doing it to God? God loves us unconditionally and He calls us to love Him back with all our might and strength. However, we tell Him we can’t do it and that He should be satisfied with some of our efforts because that is what He is getting from us. But that is not the language of love. Love is never afraid; love is willing to be consumed, to be spent for the sake of the beloved. That is why the call to holiness is the response of our love that we have for God.That is what I want. I want to be free from all tepidity or fear in my love of God.
1) Say a short daily prayer of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
2) Do a weekly holy hour (can be broken up during the week)
3) Monthly confession
4) Daily Rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy
5) Monthly meeting -- We gather with Fr. Bona each month to discuss what we are currently reading (at his suggestion) and to learn more about the spiritual life in the context of our Catholic faith.Our journey also includes different reading assignments. We are currently reading the book Prayer for Beginners by Peter Kreeft . I strongly recommend purchasing this and reading it often. I confess that I fancied myself rather accomplished at prayer until I read it through. It helped me realize how habitually shallow and self-centered my prayer really was. Now I have the opportunity to be a little one again in God's hands. Thank God for new beginnings!
Although we have only had 2 meetings so far, I have been incredibly edified by the process of gathering with members of my community to grow together. I love the fellowship, the opportunity for the growth and the accountability.
My heartfelt gratitude to Fr. Bona for loving God enough to do this for His people.
*Note to my Protestant friends*
My Dear Sisters,
Your friendship is such a treasure to me. Through your fellowship I have learned so much about what it means to love Christ with abandon and to give spontaneously and generously from the depths of that love. Your passion and dedication to the Gospel message has left me awestruck and humbled on a many occasions. This Saints Club may sound a little too "Catholic" for you but I think you know me well enough to know that my love of Jesus Christ drives me to it. If you have any questions or concerns about anything you read here or any interest in understanding why I am completely in love with the Catholic faith, you know how to contact me:). In the meantime, I do highly recommend Peter Kreeft's book to all Christians who desire to develop a stronger and more authentic prayer life.
Your Sister in Christ,