I’m a sucker for a good training program. It can be a challenge to eat healthier, a few weeks to a decluttered home, a small business course, or a tailored plan for improving my running.
I’ve completed only a handful of these plans. Distraction kicks in, and I quit. Sometimes the plan didn’t meet my expectations, so I put less effort in. So many of these alleged "this will change your life!" plans have let me down. To be fair, not every plan lets me down. I recently finished my third half-marathon race, training using the same plan I started with years ago. It's good enough to repeat!
Today is All Saints' Day. It's an incredible solemnity in our Catholic tradition. We celebrate the holy men and women whose exemplary lives show their love for Christ so profoundly that they are proclaimed Saints. In them, we recognize heroic sanctity and profound union with Christ.
I want to be a Saint. As a girl, I had no idea how to be a Saint, even with my strong Catholic upbringing. One thing is for sure, I knew many Saints were martyrs, and I did not want to be a martyr. How else could I become a Saint?
Jesus taught the crowds how when He gave them the Beatitudes in today's Gospel, Matthew 5:1-12.
Try reading the Beatitudes again.
This time read as though they're part of a training plan: the plan to reach sainthood and the ways by which to shape our hearts and live our days, that we may be among the ones who survive the time of great distress (see Revelation 7:14).
Each "blessed are they" statement reminds me how to live with heroic virtue and sanctity.
We will face distressing times in our lives; in fact, you may already have. Jesus asks us to pick up our cross and follow Him. He longs to see us in Heaven to be counted among the holy ones. And He shows us the way, with His own "training plan" to live by: the Beatitudes.