Year of Youth 2018

I’m Not a Saint! I’m Ordinary! | Year of Youth Blog

Last edited 2nd August 2018

I’m Not a Saint! I’m Ordinary! | Year of Youth Blog

With the announcement that the Cause of Sainthood may be opened for GK Chesterton, it seems that the growing diversity among Catholic Saints isn’t likely be hindered anytime soon. Saints Joachim and Anne – the blessed parents of Mary, Mother of the Church – were early examples of married people who attained sainthood. And then, of course, there’s Saint Juan Diego – he wasn’t a priest or martyr, but a lay Indigenous man from the Americas who is credited with the movement surrounding Our Lady of Guadalupe. Then we had St Teresa of Calcutta – a woman who once appeared to doubt the existence of God.

Now we might have GK Chesterton – the man of merriment, beers and novels. ...And people say the Catholic Church is stuck in ancient times!

So, the Church has saints from religious orders and saints that are lay people. Saints who are single. Saints who are married. Elderly saints and child saints. In fact, there couldn’t be more different examples of sainthood for the Church today. But what does this diversity mean for us?

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
(Phil. 4:13)

It may be a quote we throw around for memes these days, but it’s true!

The ever-expanding modern understanding of what qualifies as Sainthood in today’s world means that we can all be saintly, in our own way, using our talents - whatever they may be.

The Parable of the Three Servants (or the Parable of the Talents) (Matthew 25:14-30) is probably well-known by any Catholic who regularly attends Mass. In short (because there are a lot of readings to remember), a rich man is going on holiday and leaves the same amount of money with each of his three servants. Two of the men invest the money and grow its value. The third buries the money, which is a safe, reliable way to ensure he doesn’t lose it. When the master returns, he praises the two servants who’ve put the money to use and made more wealth – he scolds the one who buried the money for safe-keeping.

For a while, this parable worried me. The poor third servant! Wasn’t he just trying to be on the safe side and make sure he didn’t make a loss by investing the wealth he was given to keep? Besides, the master didn’t technically ask them, as custodians of the coins, to use them to grow his wealth!

And then, as I listened to the story again and again each year, I began to understand.

The servants were given the coins for a reason. The master could have buried them himself (or put them in a safe or stronghold) if he’d wanted to merely protect them. But he didn’t. He gave them to the servants – and this gifting carried with it an implicit expectation that, as people, instead of money-holding receptacles, they would put the money to good use. As people, they were invited to take risks with the money they were in charge of, so as to please their master.

That’s when I realised that the parable was talking about what we’re in charge of – our gifts and talents.

“And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”
(1 Corinthians 12:28)

I’ve been a fan of GK Chesterton for a long time. As a writer, every work of his has been an inspiration to me, and I could not be more excited for his Sainthood Cause to go ahead. Why? For me, one of the most wonderful works of sainthood is the ability to find that happy place between a specific talent or skill, and the service of God. Plenty of people think that sainthood is about doing something amazing – performing miracles, healing the sick or being a martyr. Yes, those things are all saintly – but it doesn’t mean that daily works, employing our skills for God’s greater good, are not.

Everyone has an avenue in their life they can use to be saintly. Some of us are writers, and can write to inspire other people. Some of us are healers – doctors, nurses or midwives who work with people in vulnerable situations every day. Some of us are teachers, skilled in making others feel at ease and reach their full potential. Some of us are students, asked to think critically and give our honest opinions on the world in public arenas. Some of us stay at home in roles as carers and guardians, playing a role of support so key in shaping how the people we care for see the world. And all of that can be used for saintly works of love, charity and Christ-like service.

Modern models of sainthood are ever more diverse, and this gives us something great to hope in. As GK Chesterton once said, “There are no rules of architecture for a Kingdom in the clouds.” For us, that means something delightful. It means we can all be saints, too. We just have to ask ourselves two questions:

What’s my talent?

How is God calling me to use it?

Reena is a young Catholic writer from Western Sydney, currently completing a degree in Media (Communication and Journalism) and Laws. She passionately believes that blogging and writing are public acts of faith and love for God – an ultimate, creative surrender. She lives by two guiding concepts of loving service: John 15:13: “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends,” and Walt Disney’s proposition: “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

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