Yesterday I wrote that the Catholic’s proper response to the scandals is to become a saint. Someone then emailed me and reasonably asked, “How do you become a saint?”
I have always taken a very practical view of this question. I don’t see sainthood as something mysterious or ethereal. I see it as something every person can obtain if they take concrete steps to do it. Here are five steps I would recommend:
1) Ask God to make you a saint. Frankly, without His help, it’s a losing battle, so you better begin with this. The good news is that He is more than willing to help you in your battle for sanctity.
2) Frequent the Sacraments. Frequently. Most spiritual directors advise attending Mass daily if possible, and confession at least monthly. I would recommend going to confession even more frequently, for it prevents our little sins from growing into big ones.
3) Pray. Try to spend at least 30 minutes a day in private prayer. You can’t know what God wants from you unless you talk to Him a lot.
4) Practice the virtues. This is the least flashy of all the recommendations, but it is vital in the battle for sanctity. One cannot be a saint without being patient with your spouse and kids, kind to your co-workers and loving to your parents. The first step to being a saint is being human.
5) Read the Bible and the lives of the saints. If you want to be a professional baseball player, you are going to read about those who have already achieved that level to see how it is done. Likewise with sainthood: reading the Bible and the lives of the saints gives great guidance for becoming a saint yourself.
Obviously, there are many other things you can do on the path to sanctity, but if you just follow the five steps above, you will be well on your way. And don’t be discouraged when you fall in your attempts to practice these steps. A distinguishing mark of the saints is that when they fall, they always get back up.