“Nothing is more exciting than becoming a saint!” our Moral theology professor told us on the first day of class this year. At the time this struck me as something profound, something worth writing in big underlined letters—and something not tremendously self-evident. There are, after all, plenty of exciting things that spring to mind: reaching the top of Mount Everest, seeing long-separated family and friends, watching the long-awaited conclusion to The Lord of the Rings. Is becoming a saint, I thought, always more exciting than these things and anything else my imagination can conceive? Wouldn’t becoming a saint have some boring moments?
But of course, my professor was right on the money. God created each one of us with one sole purpose: to know, love, and serve Him. This is our job description in life—to know God, to love God, and to serve God. In other words, our purpose in life is to become a saint. Everything else that God created here on earth, he gave us as tools to help us do that job. Falling more and more deeply in love with God every day—we can be happy in no other way.
The other day, surfing around on film critic Roger Ebert’s website, I saw an interesting letter by a guy in his early twenties. He wrote Ebert bragging that he had watched almost nine thousand movies in the last nine years. His goal in life was to continue at this rate (“only about 2.5 movies per day”) and watch all 19,000 movies ever made by the time he’s 35. Ebert, echoing the rest of the world’s sentiments perfectly, basically advised the guy, “Get a life!”
This is funny because it’s so sad. We all instinctively roll our eyes and think, “What is your problem, man?!?” We all know that it’s ridiculous to hope for happiness from watching movies all day long. But in a way, aren’t we all told similar things by the world?
Society teaches us that we were created not for God but for our own self-indulgence. It convinces us that we will be happy if only we had more toys, more friends, more sex, more looks, more… something. But we all know deep down that this is a lie. We know that being a Michael Jordan, a Britney Spears, a Bill Gates does not bring happiness. Our hearts are too big to be filled with anything less than the infinite God.
Saints realize this truth. They are normal people who live so that each day they grow more and more in love with the Lord. They refuse to settle for anything less than what will make them truly happy. We see this happiness in true Christian couples, who live to bring each other and their children to heaven. We see this happiness in people like Mother Teresa and John Paul II, who radiate joy because they dedicate every fiber of their being towards loving God and others.
Is your number one priority in life becoming a saint—coming to know, love, and serve God with every ounce of your being? Are you allowing Christ to be your best friend, a friend that you spend quality time with every day in prayer and in reading the Gospels? Are you using the things of this world insofar as they help you to love God and your neighbor, and avoiding them insofar as they lead you away from the source of true happiness?
“Nothing is more exciting than becoming a saint!” It is true… in the end, Who else is there to live for?Saints