The only tragedy in life: not to be a Saint

Word Alive–Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD Nov. 3, 2019 /31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Somebody quipped, “At his funeral, an atheist (non-believer) is all dressed up but nowhere to go.” Part of the Halloween celebration is to remind us where to go after death.

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For us believers and Christ’s followers, our ultimate goal is to become a saint. When you tell that to somebody, chances are he or she will look at you oddly and say, “To be a saint? That’s not for me. I’m too worldly for that.”

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But the truth is that our ultimate goal on earth is–and should be–to become a saint; in short, to be with God in heaven. If you don’t aspire for that, where will you go in the next life?

Someone said, “There are only two places in the next life: the smoking (Hell) and non-smoking (Heaven) area. Will you spend your eternity in the smoking or non-smoking area?”

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Did you ever pause and ponder on that? And are you doing every means to achieve that goal?

That is why the French novelist Leon Bloy wrote: “The only tragedy in life is not to be a saint.”

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Becoming a saint does not mean imitating the extraordinary feats of the martyrs who bore torments, persecutions and died for their faith. If you can do it where persecutions by radical, militant non-Christian countries still happen, go ahead. But becoming a saint in our modern times means more of imitating people who stumbled and kept rising again morally and spiritually.

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For instance, they may have committed mistakes in their marriage or religious life, but kept rising, learning from their mistakes, and faithfully following God’s will again. Remember such saints like Peter who thrice denied the Lord, Paul once a fierce persecutor of the early Christians; Matthew, the hated tax collector, the sinful Mary Magdalene, St. Augustine?

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If such people have anything extraordinary about them, it is that they never stopped to be TH (Trying Hard) to be faithful to the Lord and his teachings in spite of their weaknesses and failures. They were ordinary people who lived extraordinary lives for their faith.

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In the gospel of today’s Sunday, Zaccheus’ story is God’s unequivocable warning against greed, against enriching oneself at the expense of people’s money and in today’s situation, against drug trafficking, human trafficking or peddling pornography–grossly immoral practices that cause irreparable moral-spiritual damage to the victims.

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But there’s always hope for the worst sinner and this is shown in the life of Zaccheus. We can be saved and become saints if we repent, reform, and make reparation for our wrongdoings. As the saying goes: “If you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns.”

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QUIPS TO PONDER. If you think you are indispensable, take a walk around the local cemetery or columbary. Rich or poor, famous or infamous, all life leads to the grave.

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You may party in Hell, but you will be the barbeque!

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Honk if you love Jesus. Text while driving if you want to MEET Him soonest.

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Try Jesus. If you don’t like Him, the devil will always take you back.

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. A wife ordered a tombstone for her late husband’s grave with this inscription: “Rest in Peace.” A few days later she discovered that her husband had left a part of his will to another woman. Furious, she called up the engraver if he could change the inscription on the tombstone.

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The man replied that “Rest in Peace” had been already inscribed. “Well then,” the wife snorted, “just add `Wait.Until We Meet Again.'” LESSON: Be at peace with everybody, especially before you die.

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SEND AHEAD YOUR TREASURES. “Lay up treasures in Heaven where neither rust nor moth can consume (Mt 6,20),” Jesus says. One way of doing this is by helping our needy seminarians and sick indigents like Dante C. undergoing three-time weekly dialysis and five-year-old leukemia patient Alison Genesis L.

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Chip in an amount or sponsor a seminarian’s schooling. For inquiry, e-mail me at: belsvd@gmail.com.

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