This should be read as a meditation. There is scripture mingled in and cited, but not always directly quoted.
Who am I to be a saint?
Am I tired? Am I afraid? Am I inadequate? Moses was inadequate; he admitted it (Ex. 4:10, 13). And what of fear? Will my friends forget me or leave me? Am I desolate and tired, alone and with no comfort?
It’s a daunting task.
What did God say to Ezekiel? What does he say to me? He called him a son of man, a son of the people; he told Ezekiel to stand upon his feet, and he would speak with him. The Spirit entered Ezekiel as God spoke to him. This Spirit lives in me… is God speaking to me? God said to Ezekiel, “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to a nation of rebels, who have rebelled against me; they and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The people also are impudent and stubborn…”
God sent him to Israel, to the chosen people of God. How is it they, the chosen and holy people, were rebels and transgressors, impudent and stubborn? If Israel was stubborn in the way the related to God, my own generation must be atheist! Sure, I’m baptized. Sure, the Church exists to evangelize. Sure, Jesus gave me the Great Commission. But what the heck? God received hardened hearts from Israel. What does my culture offer today? No hearts, dead hearts, it offers aborted hearts…
And yet, Ezekiel kept listening:
The Lord GOD continued, “I send you to them; and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that there has been a prophet among them. And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit upon scorpions; be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear; for they are a rebellious house” (From Ezekiel 2:1-7).
And God has the same call for me?
Did you read that? God told Ezekiel to preach even if they refuse to hear. Why? The response I often hear is to “be not afraid.” Why shouldn’t I be afraid, because they’re a rebellious house? What kind of encouragement is that! Am I afraid to be a saint? Of course! What is there to lose? The world and everything in it. Of what value are worldly affairs? They have none with God. So, I lose nothing? What do I gain? God Himself, Heaven, and even the beauty of creation.
Can I do what saints do? They suffered and bled. I have not even resisted temptation to the point of shedding my bled (Heb. 12:4). They were forsaken, alone, hurt, abandoned. They were perpetually joyful and zealous. They were wise and feared. Where are the saints of today? Who are they? What is it they did, that made them saints? [Take a moment to answer this question.]
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you…” John 15:7
They abode in God. They loved with all their heart, mind, body, and soul, all the time. Can I be a saint? Do I want sainthood? Is God with me when I am alone? Was he with the saints when they suffered loss? Do I love my family even when my family does not love back? Is it that easy? Keep his commandments and I will abide in his love (Jn. 14:22-23; 15:10). Is this the secret of the saints? Jesus, my Lord and my God! You have spoken these things to me so your joy may be in me, and that my joy may be complete! I remember, though, me being tired, afraid, and feeling inadequate.
The weight of the call
Let me only tire of my sin. Let me only fear the loss of my life by listening to the devil, by giving myself to the world. Let me be inadequate to the world, for as your servant, as your son, I commend myself to you. I commend myself to you, through great endurance, in rebellions, afflictions, hardships, sufferings, beatings, rejections and imprisonments.
Help me to commend myself by purity, knowledge, forbearance, kindness, by the Holy Spirit, genuine love, truthful speech with everyone, and the power of God. We, the saints of today are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known [by God and the world]; we are treated as dying, and behold we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything (from 2 Corinthians 6:4-10).
This call to sainthood is not ambiguous nor exclusive. This call and commission asks of us great and scary things. Of course sainthood is scary. What else is it? It’s exciting. It evokes in the human person a call to greatness and the potential to satisfy what seems like an infinite and never-ending itch to conquer ourselves. We live in the world whose ruler is a fallen angel. We are part of a kingdom whose Lord is eternal and sovereign. This causes tension in us, in me, in my relationship to the world and to God.
“They will know that there has been a prophet among them.”
Whether they listen or not is not my call. My call is to be a prophet to the people, to speak truth and instruct by the word of the Lord. See what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says (paragraphs 904-907). Are the people stubborn? Are the people atheist? I am not who they will answer to, nor are you.
Finally, Lord, teach me to rejoice in hope, to be patient in tribulation, and constant in prayer. Teach me to contribute to the needs of the saints [the people of God] and practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited (from Romans 12:12-16).