Many people spend their lives in prayers. Rosaries recited times on end. Preferred prayers and litanies from Saints. Novenas repeated ad infinitum. Or even just talking to God (with little listening perhaps) and asking Him over and again for our needs and wants.
But … apparently, this is not enough.
Others spend their lives reading about the Saints and other learned books about Christianity and our Faith?
Is this enough … or not yet?
Others attend Mass regularly, perhaps daily, take Communion, go to Confession and do as the Church teaches and commands.
Are we getting there … do we have a pass to Heaven or not yet?
Some people immerse themselves in good deeds. They do good works in Church. Attend Committee Meetings, help with the day to day running of the place, clean the church and do whatever else is needed.
How is our score now? Enough good points to enter Heaven?
And then … there are people who visit the sick, the elderly, the prisoners … they feed the poor and the down-and-outs and spend a lifetime of generosity both in time and effort as well as in financial terms doing as Christ commanded.
Surely they at the very least deserve Heaven.
The thing is … we really don’t know, or have not been taught WHAT GOD REALLY WANTS.
Christ made His commandment clear:
Love God and love one another as I have loved you.
But is this really possible? Has He set us an impossible task?
How can you love someone who has wronged you and continues to do so?
How can you spend your time helping others less well off than yourself when in reality there are times when you’d rather be at home with your family doing something else more pleasant?
How can you keep up doing good deeds and sacrificing yourself for others when you feel that you owe it to yourself (so they tell you) to be happy and to have it all? Being selfless and always thinking of others seems so unachievable at times.
The real reality is that we cannot love like Christ.
Because He is Christ, the Son of God, and we are not.
He loved and forgave His enemies on the Cross; but this is a step too far for most of us.
We are humans and He is God. He lived and died and was Resurrected again as God.
He loved and still loves as God. And His mercy and caring for us are the fruits of the love of God.
We cannot, nor are we meant to, love one another as He has loved us.
So we satisfy ourselves with acts of devotions, prayers and “too much religiosity”. We try to be kind and charitable and forgiving towards each other – and often fail to reach the standard required of us. But we try again, and should continue to do so.
We aim, and perhaps fail again, to achieve Sainthood. For His sake, For His mercy. And for His love.
But I suspect that Saints are made and not born. We are born sinners and through our deeds and actions we strive to walk the road to Sainthood.
Only He, through His Grace, can make us Saints.
Our job is to take the first step, in Faith, in Trust, and let Him do the rest.