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Every Saint Is Unique. What Saint Do You Look Up To?
Gospel Reflection for May 8, 2023
“‘Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.’ Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him, ‘Master, [then] what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.
I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you.’” (John 14:21-26 NABRE)
This passage is clearly evidenced by the lives of the saints. Because of their deep love of God, the saints closely followed the commandments of the Lord, in the most radical of ways, and it is clear that God most definitely made His dwelling in them. The saints strived to unite themselves completely to God, and because of this, they truly radiated holiness and the fruits of the spirit. Each saint has their own gifts, talents, abilities, and purpose, and the Lord uses these willing souls to accomplish incredible things through them.
It is by following the commandments of the Lord, and by growing more deeply in love with Him, that the saints truly became themselves. Each of the saints, then, were unique, because they did not follow the world, but their Creator.
Saint Carlo Acutis saw that many people, “wanting to be different, really end up being like everyone else, running after whatever the powerful set before them with the mechanisms of consumerism and distraction. In this way they do not bring forth the gifts the Lord has given them; they do not offer the world those unique personal talents that God has given to each of them. As a result, Carlo said, ‘everyone is born as an original, but many people end up dying as photocopies.’”1 ^1^
How true this is!! Nowadays, everyone wants to be like everyone else in order to fit in. But God created us to be different, to be unique! We cannot be who God created us to be, or accomplish what God created us to do, by spending our lives distracted from the Source of who we are.
SO MANY people today live their lives lost in confusion, depression, anxiety, anger, addiction, and whatever else, because they live in a world that does not teach them about God and their God-given life and identity. SO many people don’t know who they are because they don’t know their Source.
Our source is God. He is our Creator. And it is He Who gives us our identity.
Today’s Gospel makes it clear that if we want to be united to God, if we want Him to dwell in us and make us more truly ourselves, we must follow His commands and strive to grow more deeply in love with Him. The lives of the saints highlight what can be accomplished in us when we know God and seek to unite ourselves to Him by following His commands. So, may we follow the example of the saints!
What saints have inspired you to follow their example?
To name a few, some of my absolute favorite saints are St. Joseph of Copertino, St. Gemma Galgani, St. John Bosco, and St. Philip Neri.
Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation on To Young People and to the Entire People of God Christus Vivit (25 March 2019), §106.