To be a saint

We carry too much false humility in our lives. Or, if we truly wish to “achieve” we aim high at material goals or career ideals. But in our spiritual lives? We shroud ourselves in false humility or we don’t understand the true human potential and think we just want to survive this life and hope to see Jesus some day (as a Christian).

When Thomas Merton is baptized into the Catholic Church he still struggles in his life and career. His goals still revolve around being a famous author or professor.

Finally, a mentor asks him straight up what he wants to be in life. Merton has false humility and can’t blurt out, “I want to be a famous author!” So, he defaults to the spiritual false humility: “I guess what I want is to be a good Catholic.”

His friend asks what that means and Merton struggles to define it. The friend won’t have it. Merton gave him a lame excuse and he calls it out.

“What you should say,” the friend said flatly, “is you want to be a saint.”

Merton was dumbfounded. How?

The friend said, “By wanting to.”

We have been called into the fullest form of God-given humanity when we follow Christ and somehow we still sink to the false humility of: “Well, I just hope to have Jesus save my soul and keep away from the worst sin.” All we’re trying to say at that point is, “I hope to keep some decent vices in my life and get to heaven when it’s all over.”

Jesus didn’t come to save us for the lowest common denominator and the false humility of “just being human.”

Merton’s friend knew the call of God to humanity and stated it simply. We want far less in our lives and we thus settle for far less. I know I default to the false humility when I have something in my life I won’t deal with and God is calling me higher.

He isn’t calling me to misery. He is calling me to a fuller humanity that is designed for me and all I want to do (to borrow from C.S. Lewis) is to make mud pies in the street. What I have toyed around with privately in my journals for years (and then slid away from easily) I must now understand to be my fullest goal in Christ on this earth and declare it a bit more publicly:

I want to be a saint.

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