In conversations about the spiritual life, some people respond with the statement "Well Father, I'm no saint." While I understand what they mean by that, and in a sense it is true because the correct statement ought to be "I am a sinner in need of God's mercy," nevertheless my response is "what a pity." (A response learned from the life of St. John Vianney.)
You see, we are called to be holy. God expects us to be holy: "Be holy, for, the LORD, your God, am holy." (Leviticus 19:2) In the Gospel too Jesus exhorts us "So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48) So when we say "I'm no saint," we may very well mean" don't spend all day in the church praying," or "I'm not a nun," or "I have faults and sins," but it doesn't mean we can't TRY!
That's the difference between a saint and a sinner, the saint kept trying. If they fell, they got up. If they sinned, they sought forgiveness and mercy, and tried again. As many times as they may have fallen, they got up and tried again. The enemy of our souls delights in keeping a sinner down. When a person says, "I'm never going to change, so I'll just give in freely to sin and my faults," then the evil one gets what he wants, that soul.
"Saint" literally means "holy one." So, how do we become holy, how do we become perfect? Well, we follow the Lord's example. He doesn't just tellus to be holy, he shows us how!
"As God does, we must love without limit-with a love that does not distinguish between friend and foe, overcoming evil with good (see Rom 12:21).
Jesus himself, in his Passion and death, gave us the perfect example of the love that we are called to.
He offered no resistance to the evil-even though he could have commanded twelve legions of angels to fight alongside him. He offered his face to be struck and spit upon. He allowed his garments to be stripped from him. He marched as his enemies compelled him to the Place of the Skull. On the cross he prayed for those who persecuted him (see Matt 26:53-54, 67:27:28, 32; Luke 23:24).
In all this he showed himself to be the perfect Son of God. By his grace, and through our imitation of him, he promises that we too can become children of our heavenly Father.
God does not deal with us as we deserve, as we sing in this week's Psalm. He loves us with a Father's love. He saves us from ruin. He forgives our transgressions. He loved us even when we had made ourselves his enemies through our sinfulness. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (see Rom 5:8).
We have been bought with the price of the blood of God's only Son (see 1 Cor 6:20).
We belong to Christ now, as St. Paul says in this week's Epistle. By our baptism, we have been made temples of his Holy Spirit. And we have been saved to share in his holiness and perfection. So let us glorify him by our lives lived in his service, loving as he loves." (Dr Scott Hahn)
God Bless you all,