Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 01 August |
Saint of the Day: St. Alphonsus Liguori
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Become a Saint—Who Me the Father of Six?

Gordon-CC

Jim Schroeder - published on 06/20/15

Why not, what else is there?

I sat there twisting the black bracelet around my wrist inscribed with these three words – Become a Saint – in white. It had been passed out first thing in the morning to all the attendees. The mission had been over eight months in the making, but sitting there in the midst of over 400 people, Dr. John Wood held us and our peers in momentary suspense as he unveiled just how his winding road had found its way to us. In days and weeks that would follow, it was clear that he and his band, Simply RC, had set our parish on fire.

As I sat there thinking about it, John told the story of how his book, Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Mission came to be published by Matthew Kelly through Dynamic Catholic. He recalled the life-changing phone call in which Matthew told him that the book was a go. But there was one catch. The name had to be changed from Choosing the Saint Inside to something that better appealed to the masses. As John noted, Matthew indicated that people didn’t want to become saints. Although John’s first reaction was to question this whole idea (even though he had little or no experience to debate on), he quickly understood what Matthew was saying: You have to meet people where they are.

Months later, the thought continued to linger with me. Why didn’t we want to be saints? Although I believed deep down that most of us had a desire to do good, I knew that Matthew was right in his contention, especially when it came to men. The question was why. Part of the answer seemed rather easy, and it only took a golf scramble or a conversation at a barbeque to realize that even those men who seemed to be living good lives still often engaged in crass conversations about all sorts of matters. Even if they weren’t acting inappropriately, it certainly seemed that they weren’t thinking and talking virtuously at many points throughout the day. And that’s what it seems saints are called to do, which at times feels like a narrow, somber road. As Billy Joel once crooned, “Sinners have a lot more fun.”

Of course, most of us know that fun is not what we should be seeking. And as a psychologist, I know full well that fun and true happiness and wholeness are often distant cousins (although they don’t have to be), as many men who outwardly engage in all kinds of merriment bear the weight of significant struggles and heartaches, some self-imposed. But it isn’t just about fun. It is about joy and brotherhood, and trying to find it even as someone with many adult responsibilities. It seems that part of why men especially do not aspire to sainthood is that it is increasingly a lonely pathway in a culture where many already feel isolated.

But there is more, and I found myself asking the question: Just how many saints do you know that were husbands and fathers? The answer I came back with was one: Sr. Thomas More (and even he seemed canonized for heroic deeds not directly related to spouse hood and fatherhood). Although I certainly didn’t regard myself as an expert of the canonized world, I had come to know many popes, bishops, priests, brothers, sisters, and even married and unmarried women who had risen to the ranks of sainthood. But when it came to married men with children, I was practically at a loss. Although I knew they probably had existed all throughout history, the accomplishments of being a tremendous father and spouse, although professed to be very important by our Church, seemed to be resigned to second fiddle in comparison to  other types of deeds. Undoubtedly, every saint was called to be more than just the primary roles they maintained. But many times when I started thinking about this, my coherent thoughts were shattered by a shill cry from the living room and a request for a diaper change. Frankly, it wasn’t just that sainthood felt like a lonely pursuit with my own cohort. It was also that I didn’t feel like I had hardly any support from two thousand years of Catholic history.

  • 1
  • 2
Tags:
Saints
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
HIDILYN DIAZ
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
2
SIMONE BILES
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
3
PRINCESS DIANA AND MOTHER TERESA
Mathilde De Robien
Did you know Princess Di was buried with a rosary?
4
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
5
JEDZENIE
Theresa Civantos Barber
The one thing we all should do before this summer ends
6
Zelda Caldwell
German women’s gymnastics teams modest dress protests sport’s ...
7
Lauren Daigle
J-P Mauro
After 3 years Lauren Daigle ousts herself from #1 Billboard spot
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.