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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Saints in Training

Photo Credit:  dmscs at
In addition to the ever-so-slight tinge of coolness in the air, the fall festivals, and the bountiful list of reasons to be thankful, the autumn season also brings the sneezes to our house.  Whatever blows in from another part of the country this time of year just doesn’t agree with the fam.  So, last week, we were all sniffin’ and snortin’ to the tune of antihistamines and cough suppressants.

However, I’m feeling blessed that this week is already humming a new melody.  But, on my most blah day last week, I desperately needed to go to the grocery store.  I had NOTHING in the house.  Nothing.  When my mom says she has nothing, she can still make seven delicious square meals.  When I say I have nothing, my pantry actually echoes.  Now, don’t get me wrong – I am so glad that we can go to the store and buy the food we need, but I absolutely did NOT want to go.

It was a labor of love.  My family needed me to go.  My children needed options for their lunchbox.  My “breakfast for supper” gig was no longer working.  The cereal had run out of fun, if you will.  Our dog basically opened the car door and pushed me in (hee hee).  “Okay, Okay…I’ll go…I’LL GO!”

However, I felt like a slug while I was there, slowly creeping around the store.  I tried to muster up a smile as I walked down the aisles.  Certainly other folks I encountered that day had more to worry about than allergies.  I am sympathetic to the fact that someone else always has it worse on any given day. 

But, my ears were stopped up and I couldn’t hear a thing.  My head was stuffy and I couldn’t breathe out of my nose at all.  I was feeling sorry for myself.  Then, out of nowhere, a sweet lady came up to me and said, “Your hair looks so cute like that.”  And, as I tried to remember even fixing my hair, another kind soul told me that she really liked how I applied my make-up.  Surely, I didn’t hear her right – my clogged ears must have failed me.  But, she repeated, “I just thought your make-up looked nice and so why not just say it!”

Huh!  On a day when I felt slightly pathetic, I got two of the most genuine compliments I’ve ever gotten at the grocery store.  Through a couple of dear women, I was reminded of how beautiful we all are to God (even our cruddy allergy selves).  He looks at us and says, “I choose you.  I love you.  You are beautiful.”

Last week, we also celebrated All Saints Day.  My children always enjoy that day because our priest does something special during Mass.  When we give each other the sign of peace, he encourages us to insert our neighbor’s name after the word Saint.  So, my son shook my hand and giggled, “Peace be with you…Saint Mom.”  Of course, the whole congregation chuckled a little while doing this activity because we know how FAR we have to go to really become a saint.  Or…IS it completely out of the question for us?

Well, our priest, Father Gabriel, says that saints were just like us…ordinary people.  They just did two things very well – they trusted in God and they were always eager to do His Will.  So…saints were ordinary people with an extraordinary love for God.  Could it be that the two ladies in the grocery store were just saints in training?  They did give me a glimpse of Christ’s love for me.  It’s possible.  Hmmm…..

I don’t know about you, but I know I ask God for a lot of things.  I complain to Him at times and I do a good deal of thanking Him.  But, how much time do I spend actually LOVING Him? 

Janel Esker reminded me of something in her reflection this week:  “Loving God is different than loving a person you can actually see, touch, and hear – yet it’s so fundamental to the spiritual life.  Maybe, like couples who’ve been married a long time, we just assume God knows we love him.  But even long-married couples renew their marriage vows and fall in love all over again.  God is always reaching out in love to us and Jesus challenges us today to recommit ourselves to God.  Can we continue to fall in love with God?”

Francis Chan also has a great way with words as he describes how crazy our love can be for another person: 

“When you are truly in love, you go to great lengths to be with the one you love.  You’ll drive for hours to be together, even if it’s only for a short while.  You don’t mind staying up late to talk.  Walking in the rain is romantic, not annoying.  You’ll willingly spend a small fortune on the one you’re crazy about.  When you are apart from each other, it’s painful, even miserable.  He or she is all you think about; you jump at any chance to be together.”

Are we in love with God like this?  Surely we can all relate to what Chan is describing.  Our love for God could look like this if we just let Him in.

“Come near to God and He will come near to you.” (James 4:8)  Don’t we all crave love?  Who doesn’t love “love?”  It gives God glory when we want to love Him – when we desire Him in our lives.  The Saints “get it.”  I want to understand it, too. 

Matthew West sings a beautiful love songa love song from God to us.  It reminds me of when the kids tell me they love me and I say, “I love you more.”  God feels the same.  He loves us more than we can imagine…more than we can fathom.

But, what if we are going through a time when we can’t even seem to find God, much less love Him like He deserves to be loved?  I think we might be inspired on just where to look by watching the movie (or possibly even the trailer…), “Letters to God.”  We recently showed it to our sixth grade CCD class and hearts were touched…especially mine.  Inspired by a true story, this ten-year-old boy just might uncover a way to find God…to love God…through letters.

I’ll leave you with this to ponder:  If saints were ordinary people with an extraordinary love, then what a different world it could be if we all lived like we were “Saints in Training.”


  1. Oh, on spot you are with this one.....more than you might realize.....hits me where it is needed......"saints in training"....what a unique and hopefully rewarding spiritual exercise which we know can improve us emotionally and physically and those we encounter. Going to try to flex those saintly muscles!

    1. Love your response! Thanks ;-) I can see those saintly muscles all the way over here!