Thursday, October 15, 2009
The Pursuit of Goodness
For the past several months I have been publically exploring the idea of pursuing sainthood on this blog under the label "Sainthood Project Journal." This endeavor has helped to clarify my relationship with God, and I am thankful to those who encourage me to deepen my faith. This process of reading, praying and exploring the specific teachings of Catholicism has caused me to draw some conclusions about my own spiritual journey as a Catholic. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that all Christians "are called to holiness." (2013) To me, that means I'm going to try to be the best version of Loren that I can be, making the most charitable contribution of time, talent, and wealth with this one life I've been gifted with. This is what I should be striving for.
However, the idea of seeking perfection is what makes me uneasy with the term sainthood. The word saint seems to imply perfection, and I know I will never be a perfect Catholic or a perfect person in general. The saints got pretty close to being perfect by the end of their lives, and I'm not sure I'll ever get that close. My conflict is that I believe that God is perfect and humans are not. I think God made me imperfect for a reason that I cannot fully understand.
I would love to be a saint, who wouldn't? However I have to ask myself, what is my motivation? Did recognized saints, other than St. Teresa of Lisieux, ask themselves every day if they were on the road to sainthood? God, not any church or human, will be my final judge.
Do not misunderstand me; I do think striving for sainthood is an excellent goal. If people did this the world would be heaven on Earth, (if everyone's motivation was to reach a state of humility and kindness.) One's motivation in this pursuit has to be considered. Honestly, my goal in wishing to pursue sainthood is to be loved by God, to have God say when my life is over,
"Loren, good job! I am pleased."
So I think what I'm really reaching for is goodness, and trying to leave this world a saint is taking the task one unrealistic step further. It's like saying you're goal in school is to end up with a 100% GPA when your honest personal best is 95%. Rather than focus on the grade, I'm just going to learn as much as I can and leave the rest up to God.
In studying my religion I come across teachings in the Catholic faith that I struggle to understand and agree with. I still love my religion, (especially the beautiful traditions), and think it is the best fit for me spiritually. I still respect the Pope. Seeing the late Pope John Paul II say Mass at Aqueduct Raceway in October of 1995 was one of the highlights of my life. I disagree on some things. Is this heresy? I think it's just being human, and I think that's alright. I'm coming to the conclusion that God loves me the same way whether I'm trying to be a saint or landing myself in jail for hideous crimes. All humans are loved equally. God's love for me is infinite, beyond my understanding. All I have to be is Loren, and that is all God wants.
Should I be respectful? Yes. Should I pursue a study of humility? Yes. Should I try to live the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes? Of course. Should I actively participate in my church community, getting involved and attending Mass? I think so. What this sainthood project journal has taught me is that all God wants from me is honest effort. So when I die I hope I get an "E" for effort. Either way I know I'll be loved. Most importantly, I should continue a habit of prayer. Today my prayer is like an Alanis Morisette song..."To be Loved, To be Good, To be Fine..."
Read the article: Pursuit of Goodness Is Way to Union with God, Says Pope
Dear Internet Traveler,
Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.