How to Help the Reluctant Saint

I stood at my stove and a rush of colorful language gathered on the tip of my tongue. I had burnt some food and my finger, spilled chicken grease on pretty much everything and run out of milk, counter space, and patience. The children were bickering in the next room. Little Cub was screaming for me. I was hungry and starting to sweat and shake from rapidly dropping blood sugar. Searching frantically for control, I managed to bite my tongue and recall the confessional advise of a wise priest:

Pretend you are a saint.

Okay, I can do that.

So I became an actress. I cleaned and comforted with angelic patience and devotion. I offered every inconvenience up in prayer, wore a cheerful countenance, dried tears with the my kisses and was pretty much the perfect mom... for about 30 minutes. And let me tell you, that was one challenging half an hour. Thirty minutes doesn't seem like much, but it was enough time to get the crisis was over and children, kitchen, and mama under control.

My gratitude goes out to that priest who must know a thing or two about spilled chicken grease and cranky children... or cranky mothers. Either way, becoming a saint relies heavily on being successful in virtue. And virtue boils down to doing things we ought to do even when we don't feel much like it. Pretending to be virtuous may seem a like a cheat at first, but it is a marvelously simple way to begin to do the right thing.

For example, try angrily yelling at your kids while smiling sweetly at them at the same time. Or, try sprawling across the couch (with your shoes on) while eating an entire pint of ice cream and watching Desperate Housewives.... while pretending that you are Mother Teresa. See what I'm saying? Some things just don't go together. If we move our body in one direction, our heart more easily follows.

It works with parenting, too...

But Mommy, I don't want to be around her at all. Sometimes I wish she wasn't my sister and I don't like her and especially when she LOOKS at me like that.

Well, I can't make you like her. But God gave her to you and expects you to love her. So, I'm asking you to pretend you like her for now. Pretend you are in a movie and you are playing the part of St. Dominic. Can you do that? For just 15 minutes?

The crisis passes. Disaster is averted. The saints-in-training fall safely into bed for the night.

In virtue, pretending isn't being false if we truly desire the virtue. It is like method acting except our ultimate goal is not just to imitate the virtuous character perfectly, but to actually become the part of a saint. It is fighting with a stubborn will. Teaching the mouth, feet, hands, and head to obey the will. And sometimes, it is simply getting through a critical moment with a little creativity, a little prayer, a little effort and a whole lot of grace. In the end, we will find that we have modeled our lives after Love... and become uniquely beautiful. The saint He has called us to be.

The Saint That is Just Me
by Danielle Rose
Oh I thought I'd be heroic and inspiring.
I wanted to offer you the greatest sacrifice.
Like all the saints who've gone before me,
I tried to prove my love for you and so to gain the prize.
I thought I'd be a martyr like Cecilia,
I hoped I'd disappear like St. Therese,
Or wear a hidden crown of thorns like Rose of Lima,
To heal the sick and raise the dead.
Refrain:
When you hung upon the cross looking at me,
You didn't die so I would try to be somebody else;
You died so I could be the saint that is just me.
I wanted to be poor and free like Francis,
To cut off my long hair like lovely Clare,
To be faithful like Mother Teresa in the darkness--
Lord, won't you make me just like her.
I tried to kneel for hours in the chapel corner,
To persevere like Paul with all my sleepless nights,
To stay awake and trim my lamp with ten wise virgins,
To really give the devil a good fight.
Refrain
Just me, just me, you died just for me
Just me, just me, you died just for me
You saw that I was perfectly imperfect,
O happy fault, the sin of Adam's pride.
That's the reason that you became man
And bore the New Eve from your wounded side.
If it weren't for my sins and wounds and weakness,
Then you wouldn't have married me upon the cross.
Why do I fear being seen naked and broken?
That's why you came--because I need you that much.
Why do I fear being seen naked and broken?
That's why you came--because I need you that much.
Posted on October 14, 2014 and filed under All Saints' Day, Faith, Family Life, Liturgical Year, Spiritual Life.