Do you want to be the best version of yourself? For sure we all think about being one someday. But how do we go about doing that?
In part 1 of this article I talked about being a lukewarm, hot or cold Catholic/Christian. The second part talks about having spiritual pride and what to do with it. This last part will be about how we can overcome everything and become the ultimate human being in the eyes of God!
Disclaimer: I am not an expert in Catholicism but I was born, raised and live as a Catholic. Also, I went to a Catholic school for 4 yrs. This post is based on a combination of my opinion, what I've been taught, learned online/offline and/or experienced.
To be the holiest version of ourselves, we must first learn what being a saint is. God would be happy if we all become one. Unfortunately not everyone makes an effort to be a hero or champion of the Church, just like not everyone rises to fame and greatness in their era. But we still celebrate and admire those who do!
Despite hardships, many people work hard to be wealthy. Some become famous with a rags to riches story. Others work rigorously just to achieve the perfect body, gain top awards in art or science or gold medals in sports. For Catholics, the equivalent and noblest goal is to be a saint in Heaven.
Striving towards holiness can even be compared to simply working out at home just to lose weight. If we do our best, we may still enter heaven without even being a saint. Or we might become unknown saints. Hey not everyone needs to be canonized, we can be an anonymous one too.
If you have family members or relatives and friends who are actively religious, this should be easier for you. Especially if your immediate family are already practicing Catholics/Christians, oh wow that's the best.
Sainthood is better than constantly thinking of "escaping" this "cruel and painful" world. By doing so we can avoid the path to self-hate, which can eventually lead to hell if we keep going. Let's strive for our sanctification instead and see where that leads us.
Just to share what I learned about holy people, they all have 3 things in common. Everyone became the embodiment of the following:
Obedience (to God and superiors)
Love and compassion
If we think about it, having all three will definitely make everyone the best kind of people. Without one or two we will be found lacking. So now it begs the question, how do we have all that and more?
Ah yes, how do we become what I call the ultimate form of humanity? I don't exactly know the formula on how to get to that highest spiritual level but I've read and watched enough Catholic content to share them with you.
I. First I will share my thoughts on how to be one.
These are the things I personally feel I also need to do regularly. Why not when I am still so far from being a saint! (Haven't been doing some in the list yet.) Maybe I will call this part the beginner level. 😆 Later on I will share the thoughts of the saints themselves
Initially of course it won't hurt to call on and constantly ask the help of the Holy Trinity, Mama Mary, the archangels/angels and saints on our road to be the best kind of people. We cannot be as holy as possible without them. (That is according to Catholic exorcist priest Fr. Chad Ripperger, from his latest talk uploaded on YouTube.)
On top of living life as a Good person, being Loving to others and Tithing, we should do the following:
Daily prayers: rosary, angelus, 3 o'clock prayer, adoration, prayers for virtues, etc. These will also protect us from evil.
Fasting and abstinence: Done during Lent, Fridays, etc.
Frequent confession: Confessed sins must be absolved by a priest (or pastor for other Christians) after a thorough examination of conscience. According to Catholic exorcist priests, this prevents intrusive thoughts or diabolical obsession/oppression up to possession. The same priests also say 1 confession is equivalent to 100 or 1,000 exorcisms.
Regular mass and communion: Go to mass and take communion more than once a week. Daily if possible. Going to mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligations is a must!
Do corporal and spiritual works of mercy: There are 14 in total.
Offer up suffering: Don't waste those painful experiences in life, offer them to God.
Consecration to Jesus through Mama Mary: Look for St. Louis de Montfort or St. Maximilian Kolbe, etc.
Be guided by a spiritual director: Look for either a priest, pastor or any spiritual/holy person. Otherwise, reputable Catholic/Christian websites is the key.
Read the Bible regularly: The Word of God is the best resource to learn the teachings of Jesus and to know how to please God.
Be an upstanding citizen: Following the law of the land is also a delight in the eyes of the Lord. (Romans 13:1-3)
Perhaps there are more but those are what I know at the moment. Of course I'm still far from being sanctified. It's a struggle to avoid sin everyday. You gotta pray and nitpick yourself to get rid of your bad habits and such with the help of all the heavenly beings. But for sure we can do it if we really strive for it.
The list can look overwhelming, I know. 😆 When I searched for how to be a saint some time ago and read a few online articles, my mind still said, "HOW?!?" And those were just short lists! But recently I finally realized what to do. Remember, baby steps.
If you haven't done any of them, start with one, then two and so on until we reach our goal. Same with those who already do some, add the steps one by one to your daily life.
Constantly doing all the things listed above can definitely get us enough graces. And yes, there are saints who have done all of the above despite having a job and/or a family. Wow right? Let's not fret or lose hope because they have shown us it is possible. If there's a will there's a way.
II. "The Shortcut": What the Saints actually said on how to be like them.
Complimentary (or Contrary?) to my long list above, I will call this the advanced level. If you're already a kind, compassionate and loving person then I believe you can be a saint if you decide to!
989 I know very well, O Lord, that You do not need our work. You want our love.
990 Love, love and once again love of God, there is nothing greater than this either in Heaven or on Earth. The greatest greatness is to love God; true greatness is in the love of God; and true wisdom is in loving God.
Next is what St. Therese of Lisieux said: Did you know God can meet us halfway and gladly lift us up? He knows we are flawed and weak without Him but He can make a diamond out of all of us as long as we keep going. Read her autobiography book "The Little Way" and see what I'm talking about. 😉
Her advice is to be like a little child; be humble so we can grow in love quickly too. We must keep climbing the ladder of holiness until we get there with God's help.
Anyway I hope all 3 of my articles have shed some light on some of the questions in people's minds. Don't hesitate to do some online research if you have more questions (or violent reactions too? Haha). Let's make use of the internet well. Also feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
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Lead image from Unsplash.