Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise (CITE)
Talamban, Cebu City
THAT is one thing for sure. Never think that to be asaint, one has to be spotlessly clean from beginning to end. We needto disabuse ourselves from this false idea of holiness.
In fact, the opposite is quite true. To be a saint, onehas to be prepared to be hounded by all sorts of temptations and to bebuffeted by all kinds of weaknesses. And yes, from time to time, hemight fall and commit even a grave sin. But he also knows how tobounce back.
This is the real secret of becoming a saint—his capacityto begin and begin again, never allowing himself to get discouraged byhis defects and sins, always quick to go back to God asking forforgiveness and for more grace, and also fast to learn preciouslessons from his mistakes and sins.
In fact, in a certain way, his defects, the temptationsaround, and the sins he may commit wouldconstitute as a strong urgeto go back to God as quickly as possible. He does not allow them toseparate him from his Father God.
And on the part of God, we can be sure that he would befilled with tremendous joy when we come back to him after we fall.
This is what we can conclude from those very consoling parables of thelost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son.
Pope Francis, in his latest Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudeteet exsultate, echoed the same truth. “Not everything a saint says iscompletely faithful to the Gospel,” he said. “Not everything he or shedoes is authentic or perfect. What we need to contemplate is thetotality of their life, their entire journey of growth in holiness,the reflection of Jesus Christ that emerges when we grasp theiroverall meaning as a person.” (22)
On our part, we should try our best to be very faithful.But it is also understood that our best efforts can sometimes fail us.We can still commit errors and even grave ones. But there’s alwayshope. God does not abandon us. He is willing to go through thecomplicated process of becoming man and dying for us on the cross andremaining with us for all time in the Church and with the sacramentsjust to bring us back to him.
This truth of faith should fill us with joy andconfidence, and instead of mainly worrying about how to avoid sin, weshould be more interested in doing what is good, what God wants us todo and to accomplish in this world. True sanctity is not so much amatter of being too concerned about sin as of doing the will of God.
Sanctity is more joy than worry, more action than caution, althoughthe latter have their role to play.
Let us remember that God wants all men to be saved. (cfr.1 Tim 2,4) He created us for that purpose, to be like him and to bewith him for all eternity. And even if we spoiled the original designGod had for us, he has repaired so well that we can say that we arebetter off this time after sin than before sin.
That’s because with our sin, God became man and gave us abetter deal of how to be with him in spite of our tendency to goagainst him. Somehow our dignity as children of God enjoys a greaterstatus since by becoming man God shares our nature so we can moreintimately share with his divine nature.
It goes without saying that we should not trivialize ourtendency to sin. We should fight it as much as we can. But thatreality should not undermine God’s will that he is bent on savingus—of course, with our cooperation also.