Sinner to Saint

"Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future."

Somehow I missed the memo that some of the greatest saints were the greatest sinners. St Augustine had a child out of wedlock and prayed for purity "just not yet". Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. St. Paul was a murderer.   

It wasn't so long ago that I thought in order to become a saint I had to get it right. 
I had to be perfect. I couldn't make mistakes.

"I-I-I"...notice a trend there? It was all about me. My strength. My virtue. My doing. My pride.

Pride? Yes. Pride. A few years ago I went to confession to a very holy priest and expressed my frustration at my short comings, ways I kept falling and messing up. 

"Maria," he said gently but firmly, "the issue isn't so much with your failings, it's with your pride."

"Pride? I don't understand."

He continued, "You're upset because you make mistakes, you fall down. You don't always do the right thing as much as you try. That desire is good. Keep that desire and keep striving to do the right thing. But when you get so upset when you fall, that frustration is a sign of pride. In that moment you are failing to recognize that you are human. You will fall down. But your holiness isn't dependent on you. Your holiness is depending on God's grace and mercy and you being an open receptive vessel.  He sanctifies you. Everything is grace."

I sat with that for a while. One of my favorite authors, Fr. Jacques Philippe, talks about that too. It's not so much our sin that gets us in trouble as it is our prideful despairing. Instead of running to the heart of Jesus, begging his mercy and forgiveness, which He so wants to give us, in our shame we run away from Him and sentence ourself, play harsh judge and lose our peace. Sometimes we can feel like what's the point of trying since we keep messing up.

In the book "33 Days to Merciful Love", Fr Michael Gaitley draws from the writings of Sr. Faustina and St. Therese who both stress over and over it doesn't matter how big our sin is, Jesus can make the greatest saint out of the biggest sinner. We just have to be open. Be willing. Be humble. Do everything with great love. And run to Him. Let Him do His work in us.

So with His grace I'm working on this. 

Learning to do little common things with great love. Day after day I fail. I don't love Jesus or others to the extent that I want to. But little by little I'm learning to keep my heart open, to run to Him, to offer as an act of love the smallest most insignificant things I do. To let my heart beat be a sigh of "Here, Jesus. I love you. I trust You. You do it." 

I don't know where you are in your life, but know that even if you are in the deepest pit of sin right now, don't despair. You too, with His grace can become a great Saint. A saint is simply a sinner who kept trying and let Jesus do His great work. 

Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. Live love.

Be His,