I am filled with joy knowing that two Popes, John XXIII and John Paul II, are now included in the Communion of Saints of our Church. We are reminded of their saintly lives and challenged in our own saintly calling, and this has taken the world by storm. As a result, many people are now interested in the “why’s” and “how’s” of Catholic life and the process of becoming a “saint.”
The process, of course, begins with Baptism. Baptism brings us into the Divine Life of Christ—in short, we are born into the “family.” The Divine Life of God’s grace moves into us as we are claimed for Christ and anointed with Him as priest, prophet, and king. The new Christian now shares in the Life of Christ and also shares His mission of the sanctification of the world. By receiving the Baptismal priesthood, all baptized people share in the action of Christ restoring creation to His Father. This, of course, takes place by participating in the sacramental life of the Church, especially the Eucharist, where we are one with Christ in His act of self-giving love and obedience in the Paschal Mystery—His Passion, Death, and Resurrection.
In the Sacrament of Confirmation, we are sent with Divine grace to profess the Gospel. This becomes another action of the Baptismal gifts of being priest, prophet, and king. The public profession of our faith, empowered by the strength of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, unites us with the prophets and apostles who lived and died, heroically confessing the wonderful works of God.
When Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist, commonly called The Sacraments of Christian Initiation, are allowed to work fully in the lives of those who want to know and love Jesus Christ, there is no telling where Divine grace may lead a person. Saint Paul speaks of all of us as “God’s chosen race, His saints, He loves you.” (Col. 3:12ff)
Being publically “proclaimed” a saint is a major event in the Church and in the world at large—no doubt about it. We should, however, not lose the understanding that being a saint should be considered ordinary behavior for Christians. The expectation for us is that we are all meant for heaven. Perhaps we need to help each other a little bit more to make that happen—starting sooner, than later.
All you saints and sinners, come to Sunday Mass …