We are all called upon to be saints
In fact, the only mistake in life; is not to be a saint. Imagine living your life and at the end you didn’t achieve the one thing necessary – saving your soul at the end of it. No one has saved their soul until they have saved it; until they have actually died in the state of grace and will see Heaven; even if they have to be first purified of any remaining attachments or punishments attaching to the sins they committed.
“Love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. xiii. 10). Charity is the bond of perfection (Col. iii.14). St. Augustine was asked how sanctity of life was to be attained “Love God, and do as thou wilt” he replied; meaning that he who truly loves God would do nothing to displease Him. St. Francis de Sales says that the only true perfection is to love God with our whole heart and our neighbour as ourselves; all other perfection is spurious. The more one loves God truly above all else, the less likely one is to fall into error, to commit sin, to be unjust, uncharitable etc.
St. Thomas Aquinas defines sanctity as the fervent surrender of one’s self to God. Sanctity does not consist in the outward observances of religion, in long prayers, in fasting and almsgiving; these are means to the attainment of sanctity. Nor does sanctity consist in complete freedom from sin; for none of us are perfect; but rather by constant and energetic resistance to sin because we know that it offends God whom we love and that it is bad for us,
for others and for society (which is why it offends God and why He commanded us to be perfect as His Heavenly Father is perfect). God permits sinners to fall into sin to keep them humble. Least of all does sanctity consist in extraordinary works, which the world regards with astonishment and admiration. There is no mention in the Gospels of great things being done or said by the Mother of Christ or by St. Joseph, the foster father of Christ. The two closest people to Christ on earth quietly did their duty; which was heroic. A great number of saints will be found in the ranks of the saints who never shone in the light of the world because their life was hid with Christ in God (Col. iii. 3).
If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him (1 John 11. 15). Clearly, we live in the world; but we are called not to belong to the world; not to be primarily attached to the things of the world, to its pleasures and possessions and status; but to be detached from those things so that we can be attached to God. Certain pleasures of life are legitimate; for example, God made us so that we have pleasure from eating and drinking; else we might not nourish our bodies. There is pleasure attached to the love between man and wife and the expression of their love is blessed by God. But in all things; our passions must be subject to our intellect and to right reason and God’s laws. To use the same examples, we abuse the freedom God gave us, cause harm to ourselves and others and therefore sin against God Our Father; when we eat or drink to excess or abuse the gift of love designed by God to be expressed only between husband and wife for the purpose of binding them closer together in their joint enterprise of raising and educating their children and supporting each other. Therefore, love for God and therefore the desire only to do good to ourselves and each other comes before every pleasure; which we are prepared to forego if necessary. We realise that no pleasure or worldy goods or status is due to us by right. Loving God versus loving the world and ourselves is like the balance of a scale; the more we love ourselves and the world; the less we love God. As charity grows, the more self – love and sinful affections fade.
St. Thomas Aquinas, when asked how one could make sure of attaining sanctity; replied “By a resolute will”. Attaining sanctity is like learning an instrument; by application of dedicated effort day by day over a long time. Our Lord said “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice for they shall have their fill” (Matt. v. 6). A sincere desire for perfection and an untiring effort to attain it will not be unsuccessful. An energetic desire for it is already half the battle; this gives force and courage, makes light of the effort and work, daunts the enemy and makes a man pleasing to God; thus winning His grace.