Watching the cultural, moral, and economic death spiral of a once-shining, exceptional America has done a lot to focus the minds of Catholics I know, including myself. The decline of the nation I love (and in which I felt comfortable) has caused me to look interiorly, and to recognize with blinding clarity that the only thing there is, the only option left to us, is the only thing we were ever called to in the first place: Sanctity.
With that urgent understanding now a part of my everyday thinking, I turn to you to ask:
How badly do you want to be a saint?
My question is directed at everyone reading this (though I expect that secularists and atheists would answer, "It's not even on my radar screen" and that's okay; I'm looking for honesty), and it might be the most important question you are ever asked, at least on a blog.
The truth that has been forgotten by some and unknown to others is that every single human being who has ever existed or will ever exist is made for one thing only: Union with God. Therefore, every single human being who has ever existed or will ever exist is called to be a saint.
There are no exceptions to this calling.
French writer Leon Bloy said that, "The only tragedy in life is not to be a saint."
He is right.
St. Thomas Aquinas told us in two words what it takes to be a saint: "Will it."
He is right.
To that end, I am "willing it" this year. Holiness cannot be achieved without discipline (the very root of "disciple"), which I lack utterly. My plan for holiness must be disciplined, but doable. It includes a daily rosary (the weapon in our spiritual arsenal that makes the demons tremble), weekly adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, and a formal program of prayer and formation, with a trained spiritual director as a guide, so that I may progress through the three stages of holiness.
Can I do this? I don't know, but I am excited (giddy, even?), nervous, hopeful. I know that I can't not try, because nothing else I do in this life will be worth spit if I don't.
There is not one thing that the world needs more desperately right now -- and I mean "desperately" like a dying man in the desert who is out of his mind for a drop of water -- than saints. We needs saints more than we need politicians, attorneys, scholars, philosophers, theologians, doctors, businessmen, celebrities or activists.
We need saints, saints, saints.
I want badly to be one. And I want all of you to be one, too. We are all called, and I pray that we are willing.
I'm earnestly asking, truly wanting to know…. How badly do you want to be a saint?