October Series: Faith

The Faith of a Saint

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. — Colossians 3:23-24 (NKJV)

This month’s articles will be on the topic of faith, and since the month of October is also the Season of Saints, it seems like a perfect time to consider what sort of faith it takes to become a saint. Growing up, I thought saints must be otherworldly in their faith, perform astounding miracles, or martyr themselves for the faith. Certainly, there are plenty of saints who have done these things, but I am learning that most saints are very much like you and me. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure that many of you have already attained the unofficial title of saints in the way that you have lived out your faith through your life.

So what makes a saint? The official process is quite complicated and lengthy and is certainly fascinating. Several years back, I started learning about the official process by following the progress toward sainthood of one of my icons of the faith, Dorothy Day. My curiosity about the saints continued to grow, and in January, I subscribed to an online daily devotional, Saint of the Day, to learn more. Each day, I read a brief biography of a saint along with a devotional based upon their life. I am amazed every day not by how extraordinary their lives were, but much more often by how ordinary their lives were, yet they each have made a lasting impact. By and large, the saints are not people who are endowed with astounding gifts; they are people who use whatever ordinary gifts God gives them to live out their faith wherever they are. Whatever they do, it is done for the glory of God. And we can do that, too!

Some saints were great orators or healers or gave their lives for their faith. One of my favorites, Catherine of Siena, was best known for her letter-writing. One of Saint Philip Neri’s greatest traits was his joyfulness in life. And there are Saints Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin, the parents of Saint Therese of Lisieux, who were a watchmaker and lace-maker respectively, and whose biographies as saints record that they created a home that “nurtured the sanctity of all their children.”

Most saints remind me of someone who has influenced me and helped to grow my faith — some of them you would recognize as our neighbors here at Epworth Villa. Who has been a saint in your life? Who has taught you how to live your life faithfully and use your gifts all to the glory of God? Don’t look now — you just might be a saint, too!

I Sing a Song of the Saints of God
They lived not only in ages past;
there are hundreds of thousands still.
The world is bright with the joyous saints
who love to do Jesus’ will.
You can meet them in school, on the street,
in the store, in church, by the sea,
in the house next door.
They are saints of God, whether rich or poor,
and I mean to be one too!