I want to be a hardcore, virtuous, holy Catholic woman. I want to lead armies like St. Joan of Arc. I want to boldly proclaim God’s mercy like St. Faustina. I want to suffer joyfully like Blessed Chiara Badano. I want to love the most vulnerable of society like Blessed Mother Teresa.
I want to be a great saint. Don’t we all? It’s what we were made for, what God destined for us when He created us. But this path to holiness can be daunting. The thought of leaving many of the comforts we are so used to in order to take on the greatness of the saints makes it seem like this calling is unattainable. But this is just the lie that the devil wants us to believe.
“The Now-moment is the moment of salvation… All of us would like to make our own crosses tailor-made trials. But not many of us welcome the crosses God sends. Yet it is in doing perfectly the little chores He gives that Saints find holiness.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen
The truth is, the only way we can become the saints we were made to be is by realizing that the path to sainthood starts today, in this moment. The sooner we recognize how God is asking us to be great in the little decisions of our day, the sooner we can start to build the virtues that will one day lead us to make great acts of virtue.
Big virtues are formed through small habits. Not pressing the snooze button, doing assignments before the day they’re due, being faithful to your prayer life- all of these small acts of virtue, when done consistently and out of a desire for greatness and sainthood, start to form big habits of virtue that lead to holiness, to becoming more like Christ.
Seeing patterns in how we act and react to situations on a daily basis will help shape our own self-knowledge. This allows us to challenge ourselves to grow in areas we are weak, and eventually leads to our ability to look temptation in the face and, with the free gift of God’s grace, say no to Satan’s lies.
For example, say you set a goal to pray a holy hour every day. You begin this habit, but eventually school and work and life get in the way and you miss a day, which leads you to miss a couple days, and pretty soon this goal is forgotten and you feel like you’ve failed. It seems like praying a holy hour every day will never be attainable for you.
But let’s take a different approach. You start with 10 minutes a day. Though you become busy, you know you can give God 10 minutes a day, and as you develop this habit you start to realize a desire to pray even longer than 10 minutes. You’ve found the best times of day to pray and, because you’ve formed the little habit, you can start to increase your time in prayer and build off of that small act of virtue, that little yes.
The same goes with any sin, any temptation, any struggle. Allowing small acts of virtue to build big habits of virtue will allow Jesus Christ to develop within you the heart of a saint, the heart of holiness. When faced with that big act of virtue, you are ready to give a confident “yes” to Jesus, just like Mary confidently said “yes” to the Angel when asked to be the Mother of God in what is known as her Fiat. Just like Mary, your habits of virtue make you ready to give your big “yes”, your own Fiat, to Jesus after having given Him so many small fiats.
Let Jesus Transform Your Heart
“The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones.” Luke 16:10
Jesus wants you to be a great saint, and He will grant you the grace to be one. He is knocking on the door of your heart, but to let Him in, you must turn the handle and open the door. Know that once you let Him in, He will start to transform you into the great saint He created you to be. Let Him in by starting to form habits of virtue now, so that when faced with a decision between mediocrity and greatness, you can confidently choose like the saints did.
This article was inspired by the teachings of St. Therese of Liseux as expressed in her autobiography Story of a Soul and Fr. Michael Gaitley’s Consoling the Heart of Jesus.