"I'll tell you a secret, an open secret: these world crises are crises of saints. God wants a handful of men "of his own" in every human activity. Then. . . "pax Christi in regno Christi" - "the peace of Christ in the kingdom of Christ." (St. Josemaría Escrivá, The Way, No. 301)We live in difficult times but this does not mitigate our call to be saints. What will we say to God when we are judged? "It was too hard to prayerful, I lived in a time of numerous distractions." "It was too hard to be faithful, I lived in a time of numerous temptations." "It was too hard to raise my children, I lived in a time when there where suffocating evil influences." It is easy to give in to despair in these days of trial, but to despair would be to excuse oneself of further action, of increased effort. When Christ ascended into heaven, the world was not a Christian one; far from it. He left a very small band of followers to do His will and spread His Gospel. Followers who preached despite the overwhelming influence of pagans, followers who soldiered on despite the apostates that fell away.
The surest path to heaven is the one the Apostles lived and preached: taking up our cross daily. Recently, the Holy Father reminded Christians, that for most, they will not be called to a bloody martyrdom:
"However, there is also daily martyrdom, which may not entail death but is still a “loss of life” for Christ, by doing one’s duty with love, according to the logic of Jesus, the logic of gift, of sacrifice."As the world around us spirals into confusion and chaos, we need to continue to lead lives worthy of the name Christian. By doing this, we sanctify ourselves and those nearest to us. Some of the saints were blessed with intellect, others with great strength, others with mystical and miraculous powers, and still others with incredible oratorical skill. Yet all armed themselves with two powerful weapons: prayer and penance.
To be a saint is to live an ordinary life in an extraordinary way. As with our Lord, we must live a life of contradiction. There has never been an easy time to be a saint. Human weakness will prevail if we allow it, fear and sloth will reside habitually if we do not squelch them, love will die quickly if we do not stoke its fire with the kindling of sacrifice.
Fulton Sheen once said that when a child is born a crown is fashioned for him in heaven. God does not just hope that we become saints, the angels have made crowns for us because He, and all of heaven, expect us to become saints. Are we to let all our heavenly friends down by failing to fulfill our calling as Christians? Are we to let our spouses, our families down by failing to love them with a holy and unselfish love? This age is not a time for sinners and sloth; it is a time for saints and sacrifice.
There is no better school for saints and sacrificial love than the family. Its very nature lends itself to learning the way of the cross. By our prayers and patient witness let us teach our children and others to love the Cross and to love the One who died upon it for us. As John Paul II said," Do not be satisfied with mediocrity."