Reasons to be a Saint by Fr. Thomas Dubay

In his book, Saints: A Closer Look (SACL) Fr. Thomas Dubay asks two great questions on page 11.

  1. Isn’t it enough, one might say, just to squeeze into heaven?
  2. Is it that important that I strive to be a saint?

These questions are similar to two other important questions that Fr. Dubay raises in his book, Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer (DCDP) on page 58.

  1. What is the relevance of deep conversion, deep repentance?
  2. What are the compelling reasons why getting cured of venial sins is so crucial, so essential in your life and in mine?

Here are some of the answers Fr. Dubay provides in these two books.

1. Honour God

“God has paid you and me the marvelous compliment of calling us to “be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48), an awesome commendation and destiny” (SACL 12).

“God pays every one of us the huge compliment of calling us to the personal excellence of magnificent goodness: heroic love, humility, fortitude, patience, chastity, honesty and all the virtues without exception” (DCDP 42).

“The saints are concrete icons of what this means in priesthood, marriage, consecrated life, and many different careers” (SACL 12).

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2. Happiness

“You and I in our various vocations will be incomparably happier (and so will those with whom you deal) precisely to the degree that we concretize and apply the gospel in our lives: “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (Jn 15:11) – full, complete, not simply quite a bit. No one else promises this, and surely no one else could honor this invitation” (SACL 12).

“All divinely ordained states in life are beautiful and happy, when they are lived according to the gospel and lived generously… They are incomparably happier than those who are not. There is no bickering among them, no grudges, no scandals, no battles, physical or verbal. Major sins and minor pettinesses, cold silence and pouting disappear. When spouses disagree with each other, mutually receptive listening and amiable discussion replace impatient and snapping arguments. there is a genial pliability in nonessential matters, and when one slips, a generous forgiveness heals the momentary hurt” (DCDP 59-60).

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3. Prove real love and offer to one another a daily example of eternal impact. 

“When I give retreats to married couples I address this issue head on: “You husbands and fathers say that you love your wives and children. OK, I am going to take you seriously. Now if you love them really (that is, for their genuine welfare and not simply for what you can get from them, or whether they do or do not return your love as you would like it to be returned)—I repeat, if you love them really, then prove it in the best way possible: become a saint, get rid of your faults, love totally. Why is this the best thing you can do for them? Your impact for their genuine, eternal welfare will be tremendous. Yes, you also show love for wife and children by putting bread on the table and a roof over their heads, but the best proof of genuine love is found in the example of an exemplary life: a tremendous spur to their eternal enthrallment, and yours as well. Then I address the wives and mothers in the same direct manner: “You say you love your husband and children; then prove it in the best way possible: become a saintly wife, a saintly mother, etc.” It is easy for spouses to use loving terms such as “darling, honey, sweetheart”, but far more convincing is this down-to-earth proof in action” (DCDP 61).

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3. We will see everything through God’s eyes. 

“As we acquire the mind of the saints – how they look at things, how they think and make decisions – we also grow in finding solutions to the many concrete problems that books, homilies, courses and lectures by themselves cannot envision or explain fully. In other words, holiness brings a kind of light that exceeds what human words can express” (SACL 13).

“Since sin obscures sight, the more we are healed of our faults the better we see all else in the supernatural economy of salvation” (DCDP 62).

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4. Apostolic and Ecumenical effectiveness.

“Our apostolic effectiveness will be immensely increased in proportion as we grow from the first degree of conversion, through the second and on to the third crowning transformation… There is a direct correlation between the beauty of holiness and the fruitfulness of our work and interpersonal relationships” (DCDP 96-7).

“Because the gospel is without doubt the most beautiful worldview on our planet, when we live it fully sincere people are mightily attracted to its beauty and to the Church. Jesus himself plainly said that it is by our love that the world will come to know that we are his disciples (Jn 13:35). A saint is a homilist without saying a word, a powerful proclamation of revealed truth and splendor. Throughout the centuries of our Catholic history it is the saints who attract the largest numbers to join us” (DCDP 63). 

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5. Mutual intercausality between deep conversion and deep prayer. 

“They are not merely juxtaposed, one next to the other. Each one helps to bring about the other. The more we are rid of our egocentrisms the more we are opened to the divine infusions of love and intimacy. As Saint Paul puts it, we are transformed from one depth of beauty to another, a gift of the indwelling Spirit (2 Cor 3:18). In the other direction a progressively deepening of prayer furthers our purification from venial sins” (DCDP 64).

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6. Inexpressible joy + Never bored.

“Peter unhesitatingly proclaims to the faithful that “you are already filled with a joy so glorious that it cannot be described” (1 Pet 1:8). Yes, this happens on earth for those who have surrendered everything to love God totally, with no limit whatsoever—that is, for those who are deeply converted even to the transforming union itself. Hence, in a nutshell: why profound conversion? It triggers inexpressible joy. If one doubts this, let him try it” (64-5). 

“People who are profoundly intimate with their indwelling Lord are never bored… Boredom and genuine joy are incompatible. Selfishness diminishes a person’s liveliness and capacity to enjoy reality and to grow in the best of human relationships” (DCDP 98).Image result for catholic saints are joyful

7. Eternity. 

“In everything we do in this life we are making ourselves the kind of persons we shall be for all eternity: loving or hateful, egocentric or outgoing, fulfilled or frustrated, beautiful or ugly, ecstatically delighted or utterly miserable. Here on earth we begin to experience what will issue in eternal ecstasy or eternal disaster. And of course there are degrees of our eternal enthrallment. It would be nonsensical to give up even one degree of endless delight for a thousand paltry pleasures in this life, here one moment and gone the next. The Master put it perfectly: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?” (Mt 16:26)” (DCDP 65).

“As sensible people grow older, they see more and more clearly that alienation from God together with the tinsel of worldliness is futility and frustration in this life, and, unless there is repentance, calamity in the next. They are then more inclined to do something about it” (DCDP 20).

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8. Suffering.

“Many, perhaps most, sufferings in the nitty-gritty of daily life are due to sin and lack of deep conversion. Mortal sins (for example, hatred, infidelities, betrayals, divorces) devastate people, while venial sins (bickering, snapping, fighting, laziness, grouchiness, grudges, overeating, pouting and so on) multiply daily hurts and pains. Saints get over these faults, if ever they had them – another reason they find happiness in their vocation” (SACL 13).

Holiness “equips the person to handle suffering profitably and even happily. Saint Paul hit the nail on the head: “For those who love God everything works together for good” (Rom 8:28). Yes, even illness, criticism or failure bring blessings to one who embraces these negatives of life in union with Jesus tortured to death on the Cross. The saints experience this continuously in their lives, whereas those who choose to get bitter and cynical in their hardships become more and more miserable” (DCDP 98-9).

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In conclusion, the more we are convinced of these reasons for becoming a saint – for pursuing deep conversion, the more we will be willing to pay the price (generously cooperating with God’s grace through suffering, prayer, heroic virtue, etc) to attain the heights of holiness.

As Dubay said in his book, Fire Within, 

“glimpsing the splendor of contemplative fulfillment (the heights of sanctity and deep conversion) is a strong spur toward making all the sacrifices entailed in reaching it. To have seen the beauty of a gigantic waterfall in a photograph provides a strong incentive to keep climbing over rough terrain in an effort to reach the reality. If we are to carry our cross every day, if we are to enter through the narrow gate and walk the rough road, we will be encouraged by discovering something of what eye has not seen nor ear heard, of what does not even dawn on us, namely, what God has prepared for those who love Him” (75-6).

Comments

  1. Thank you very much for enriching the knowledge about the saints. Congrats.

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