Our daily heroism
TO be holy is both hard and easy. Hard, because it really demands everything from us. But it’s also easy, because God’s grace is always available, and all the means for us to be truly a saint are all there for the taking.
Let’s always remember that we are all asked to be holy. “Be holy, because I am holy,” St. Peter in first letter quoted the Scriptures. (1,16) Christ himself said: “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5,48) It should not be regarded as presumptuous or vain to aim at being declared a saint. In fact, it should always be expected of us and we should work for it earnestly.
We have to understand that to be truly a saint as we should be, it should be proven that we live the virtues to a heroic degree. In fact, in the process of canonization for any candidate to sainthood, the proof of the heroicity of one’s virtues has to be established before some miracles attributed to the candidate’s
intercession are required.
In this regard, we have to feel at home with the belief that indeed to be heroic in the virtues can be achieved in the ordinary circumstances of our daily life. We don’t need to get involved in some extraordinary events, like what happened to many martyrs like St. Pedro Calungsod, for us to be truly holy.
What is simply needed is that we are truly burning with love for God and for others even in the most ordinary things in life. This kind of heroism can even be more heroic and meritorious since it would require constant prodding of our will which can easily fall into complacency and into all kinds of rationalizations.
These dangers can easily come to us because we can easily think that the little ordinary things in our life—our usual daily duties and tasks—have nothing to do with God, or with the business of seeking sanctity in all events and circumstances of our life.
These dangers are even constantly reinforced by a world culture that gives little value to the ordinary things. The presence of God and the working of his providence are hardly felt, if at all, in these things.
Besides, we can be affected by the thought that doing good, trying to be holy all the time, gives us no real benefit. In fact, we might envy those who do evil, as expressed once in the Psalms:
“I was envious of the arrogant, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For they have no pangs. Their bodies are sound and sleek. They are not in trouble as other men are. They are not stricken like other men. Pride is their necklace. Violence covers them as a garment.” (73,3-6)
Like Christ who spent most of his heroic life hidden and in silence before being raised up on the cross for everyone to see, we should live heroic lives doing a lot of good while passing unnoticed. Christ himself said that our praying and fasting should not be noticed by others but should rather be hidden. (cfr. Mt 6,1-8)