by Nancy R. Catan, BCBP Manila
Sunday, October 21, 2012, is a memorable day for the Philippines – the canonization of the young Filipino martyr and missionary catechist Pedro Calungsod by Pope Benedict XVI giving our country its second Filipino saint.
Why is he being proclaimed a saint? Because he was holy and lived an exemplary life? Because he died defending his faith in God? Because at the young age of 14 he decided to live his life simply and in service to the Church and to God? Maybe all of the above. But most of all I believe that the young Pedro loved God and Jesus so much that he wanted to share their love with others by being a lay missionary catechist.
His life brings to mind one of the sayings of Blessed Mother Teresa: “We cannot do anything great for God, but only small things with great love.” So if we believe this and live every day doing small everyday things with great love, then we, too, will be on our way to sainthood.
How can we live a holy life in today’s cluttered and increasingly unholy world? Christian authors list down many practical ways to do this. Have a strong and intimate relationship with Jesus. Join a Christian community strong in worship, Scripture study, and prayer. Practice the gifts of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. Participate in the sacramental life of the Church.
Follow the way of life that God has planned out for you. Never lose your focus on God. Accentuate the positive things in life; never mind the negatives. Learn from your mistakes and strive to do better. Live a simple life so that others may simply live. See every difficulty and trial not as a heavy burden to carry, but as a challenge and opportunity to grow closer to God, to mature in faith. This list could go on and on and on; I’m sure you can add many more practical maxims to observe in our journey toward heaven.
Whichever ones we choose to practice in our life, if we sincerely desire to become better persons, then God will bless us and strengthen us to continue walking the path of holiness and to remain faithful to His calling. The bottom line here is that we have the freedom to choose whether to be saints-in-training or apprentices-to-Satan. It is our choice. It is my choice. And it is yours. It is a choice that we need to make, that we MUST make every day of our lives.