We recently celebrated All Saints Day at the beginning of November and as we approach the end of the year, we can use this time to evaluate our growth and regression over the past twelve months. As we are all called to be saints, it’s often helpful to read their lives and think about how we can imitate and model ourselves after them. Looking at the saints, we can see that each one is different. They have their personal devotions, patronages, life stories, pasts, and struggles. But the one thing that they have in common is that they all embraced God’s divine life and found their home in heaven.
But if all of them had unique paths to heaven, what’s the formula? What plan do we follow to get to heaven ourselves? 11-year-old Malcolm called in to The Patrick Madrid Show to ask Patrick how exactly we become saints.
Patrick began by giving the “easy” answer. “The simple answer, I guess, is that you love God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your strength, as Jesus said. And then you love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said those are the two greatest commandments.” Loving God with your whole being includes doing all of the things that you know you’re supposed to, like obeying your parents, being honest, and treating others with respect. Of course, as Malcolm grows up, he won’t be charged with obeying his parents anymore, but he must still treat them with the respect that parents are due.
The second part of obeying Jesus’ two greatest commandments is to avoid the things that you know you shouldn’t do. That includes not lying, not stealing, not hanging around a bad crowd who might get you into trouble. Part of making sure that you’re capable of practicing virtue and avoiding vice is to create an environment in which you are encouraged to thrive. Make friends that appreciate model behavior. Indulge in stimuli that promote moral standards. And most importantly, pray. Praying is the act of speaking to God.
“While they went off to buy [oil], the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:10-13) If we do not pray, we are not speaking to God, growing closer to Him. So, when our time comes, He will not know us.
“And you know what’s the best part about it? Everybody, including you and including me, we can all become saints,” said Patrick. This divine call is not restricted to the religious orders or a select few, hand-picked disciples. Heaven is a universal home for all God’s children. The last piece of advice that Patrick offered to Malcolm was to go to confession and receive communion as often as possible. These sacraments, combined with a focus on virtue and prayer, are capable of guiding us all to eternal happiness.
Listen to the whole question and answer below:
Tune in to The Patrick Madrid Show weekdays 8am – 11am CT