Live Like a Saint: It’s Easier Than You Think!

Standing quietly in the hospital elevator, I shifted rather uncomfortably in my oversized habit and sensible shoes and tried not to look as miserable as I felt. I was 14 years old and horrified that a friend from school might recognize me as I paraded in public as a Carmelite nun. As far as I was concerned, this was a form of punishment worse than bathroom cleaning duty. But for my grandmother, who was near the end of her time on this earth, a visit from her patron saint, St. Therese of Lisieux, was a gift beyond compare.

Once I set aside my teenage embarrassment, I was honored to give my grandmother comfort. I knew how devoted she was to St. Therese and how passionately she believed in honoring God in little ways. She taught me that it doesn’t take an official canonization by the Catholic Church in order to be saintly – that we can all live like saints by spending our lives glorifying Him in little ways. My mother often called my grandmother a saint – because it was clear how much she loved God and others though her actions. Whether she was making our favorite spaghetti, hosting a party, or reading us a story, she did it with a heart of service.

I don’t claim to live up to my grandmother’s standards, but I do know that living like a saint is within reach for all of us. That we are all called to be holy in little ways, just like St. Therese, who was known for completing even the most mundane and ordinary tasks with great love, dignity and devotion. While most of us Christian moms are not serving others in African missions, we do have the ability (and responsibility) to live like saints in our daily lives.

There’s no blueprint or step-by-step plan on how to live like a saint. But I suspect the path to sainthood begins with the basics:

1. Love one another. The foundation of our faith declares that we cannot serve others if we do not have a heart of love and compassion for them. It’s super easy for me to love my children and family, but what about the obnoxious woman on the customer service line or the person who always complains or the colleague who treated me unfairly?

2. Start in your own home. I don’t know about you, but sometimes my family gets to see the worst side of me. I spend the day serving and smiling for others, and by dinnertime I’m depleted and exhausted. I let my frustration out on them by snapping and the children and picking an argument with my husband. I forget that my very first mission, as a saintly mom, is to glorify God in my own home.

“Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.” – Lisa Hendey, A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms

3. Profess your faith. This means standing up for what is right, even when it makes you unpopular. We have no problem teaching our children this principle but do we always practice it ourselves?  Do we sit at a lunch table full of women and allow them to gossip – or participate in it? Do we take the opportunity to evangelize when we are called to do so? Even if it means messing up our schedule to spend time with someone?

4. Know that your reward awaits in Heaven. Saints are not officially recognized by the Church until years (often decades) after their death. So why do we expect to be rewarded each time we honor and serve God? I get hung up on this all the time – wanting to be acknowledged in a thankless job. Maybe I need to remember that the glory – even in the little things – is not mine to take.

5. Follow those who have gone before you. The best inspiration for living a holy life is to study the lives and deeds of saintly women and men. To surround ourselves with godly people who encourage us to be our best selves. That’s why having a Sisterhood of Christian moms is so important to me.  And it’s why I love reading and learning about others who devote their lives to God in my friend Lisa Hendey’s Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul.

Leave a Comment!

Tell me how you live like a saint or what helps you remember to honor God in little ways.

 

 

 

 

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66 thoughts on “Live Like a Saint: It’s Easier Than You Think!

  1. I would certainly never proclaim to be saintly, so I love the way you remind us of the manner in which we can accomplish the ordinary in ways that can help us to be extraordinary in our daily lives, by simply remembering who we are called to be as children on God. My mother-in-law, in my mind, was a saintly woman, who blushed when we offered her a framed gift characterizing her as a Proverbs 31 woman. She, and my own mother, have taught me the value of trusting the Lord with my whole heart, leaning not on my own understanding(Proverbs 3:5-8) . I look for God in big and small ways throughout my day, and endeavor to spend more time in His word daily, having an open dialogue with him so that I may better know the path I am to take, in my own life, and in the lives of those around me (whether that be my children wrestling at my feet, and often my husband, too, friend or foe, neighbor or stranger), So, not a candidate for sainthood by any means, but blessed to follow in the footsteps of a faithful legacy and to further that gift, I pray, for my own family.

    • Thanks for sharing, Stacy! I love that you “look for God in big and small ways throughout the day” – I sometimes forget to look for him in between prayer time. And yes, you have certainly been surrounded by amazing role models with your mom and mother in law. What a blessing:-) 

  2. This book sounds interesting and I know I could use reminders of living like a saint. I have met many challenges this year as I lot a number of loved ones and I would love something to help me stay on track to living and maintaining my faith.

  3. I do every little thing with love trying to remember to consider God’s will before my own. (Easier said than done with 6 kids!!)

  4. I live like a saint by being an Christian/Catholic example to others on the campus of others at Roosevelt University in Chicago.  The ways that I remember to honor God in little ways is by praying small prayers to him throughout the day to ask for his guidance and inspiration when life gets to be busy 

  5. Most of my relatives are still Atheist after I converted from Atheism. I’m trying to show my faith in my actions since they don’t want me to talk about the faith. I guess that’s how I try to live as a saint. I try to proclaim the Gospel without using words.

    • That’s beautiful, Inge! You don’t need words to proclaim the Gospel. You just have to live like Jesus did. We get SO CAUGHT up in scripture verses sometimes and theology…it’s sometimes easier to toss that all aside and just live a Christ-like life when you are surrounded by non believers. It doesn’t ‘turn people off’ when you LOVE them – only when you try to convert them:-) 

  6. St. Cecilia–She keeps a song in my heart and a dance in my step—she and God’s gift of Music have allowed me to travel all over USA to play and sing in some of the most wonderful parishes.

  7. St. Therese is my homegirl. She was the one who led me back home to the Church in a not-so-subtle and humorous way. I love her to pieces.

    • Haha! I’m sure she loves that you call her your homegirl!! I want to know more about how she led you back home?? Did she send a shower of roses to make a path?? Seriously, I want to know!

    • Well…whaddaya know about that – Homegirl sent you a gift! You, Paula, are the winner of our little prize drawing! Congratulations:-) I will send you a private email to work out the details. 

  8. As a new convert (Easter Vigil 2012!) I am always looking for ways to learn more about the beauty and fullness and history of the Catholic Church! This book looks terrific!

  9. Many times (sometimes in a single day) I am reminded to ‘check’ my own actions/tone of voice as I am advising my children let Christ shine through in theirs.

    • I find myself doing that too. And I am getting much better at apologizing to my children when I use an unkind tone. I think it’s important for them to know I realize it’s a mistake and that I ask for their forgiveness. Not an easy thing to do. 

  10. I love your story about your grandmother and I love the 5 steps you’ve listed above!  I can also relate to number 5 as I feel so connected to the women in my family who passed down their faith and values to me and showed their great love and example.  Thank you for the wonderful article and the chance to win this beautiful book!

    • Thanks, Kate! I was searching for a photo of me dressed like a nun from that day, but I’m certain I was too mortified to let my mother take a picture. Funny how those things are embedded in our memories. 

  11. Although I am nowhere near saintly, I guess it helps me to remember that God is always watching.  Every little thing we do.  With 7 children it is also easier for me to keep my patience in check when I imagine the saints of long ago, who did not have any of the modern conveniences we have.

  12. I don’t think I live like a Saint.  I try to follow what God wants me to do and sometimes I fail and sometimes I think I get it right.  I remember that God is all around us and sometimes it is the little things like watching my baby smile or how my older kids are growing too quick, then I think how wondeful God’s creation is. 

  13. In this trying time I have realized in order to raise children in God’s way it is most important to model the correct behaviors. I find my self failing daily this is a nice reminder that A. to start in the home and B. do the little things! Love it! Thank you!
    I try to show them how to be understanding of others, diversity is what makes the world go round. Smile and speak to the “weird” kid at school or make friends with all different intreste from all walks of life.

  14. I try to honor God by really listening to and loving those that cross my path each day. The teachers in the pick up lines who walk my children to the van, the teller at the bank, the cashier at the grocery store. Some places are more challenging than others but I try.

    • I love that you gave these examples, Melanie! In my ‘busy-ness” of everyday life, those are EXACTLY the people I tend to overlook. I forget to look them in they eye. I talk on the phone or text while they are in front of me. Sometimes I’m blown away at how RUDE I can be without even realizing it! “listening to  and loving those who cross my path each day” is a challenge for me and I am going to put a renewed focus on that as a result of your comment. Thank you!

  15. My 3rd grade son just did his Saint report on St. Edward the Confessor – it awoke my love of Saints.  It truely is one of the best things about being Catholic!     

  16. It would really help me if i can get acopy of this. My 2 older kids turned 18 & 21 this year & I pray a lot more this time of my motherhood. a copy of this book will help me become a mommy saint.

  17. I gave this awesome book out as Christmas gifts last year to many of my mom friends. I look to St. Gianna Molla for guidance as I live out my vocation.

  18. A beautiful and encouraging post! We are new to the Catholic church and are soaking up every bit of ‘tradition’ that we can. <3

  19. What a wonderful daily inspiration!
    Thank you for being such a beautiful voice of virtue for Catholic mothers and providing such a wonderful list of examples for us to look to. .
    I would LOVE a copy of your book.
    Sincerely,
    Darlene

  20. Love this post and the idea of this book. I am right there with you about showing my family the worst and giving strangers the best. While I need to treat strangers the same way Jesus would, I need to teach my family to do the same, through MY actions. Thanks for the inspiration and honesty!

  21. Even though I grew up in a very Catholic family where our traditions were always surrounded by prayer, Mass, Rosaries and keeping with the Catholic Traditions, I can only remember one Saint that was regularly talked about and our family had a devotion to.  On our family property was a mission Church that dated back to the early settlements of the Spanish in New Mexico.  Saint Aloysius Gonzaga was the patron saint of that church, and therefore was the patron saint of our family.  It wasn’t until my children started Catholic School that my desire for knowledge of other Saints was ignited.  I appreciate your “basics” on the path to sainthood, and while I am by no means a saint or even saintly, I strive to constantly do those things that bring me closer to holiness.  I now know that by learning about the lives of the Saints that have gone before us, I can also learn to mimic and follow their example to holiness.  Thank you for the wonderful blog!

  22. I am such a goal orientated person, so I love being challenged to sainthood. Most days I fall short but I try. My favorite saints are Katharine Drexel, Mary Mackillop from Australia (as I was born there). I also love the hoensty of St Theresa of Avila when she said while angry at God ” It’s no wonder you don’t have many friends when you keep treating them like you do!” The saints just had honesty and their prayer life was saturated with this honesty that spoke to God from their hearts. They were not worried about if they were praying correctly, they were win relationship with HIM, something I try to do each day, even though at times it sounds like I am talking to myself. I also admire their devotion to adoration. I wish our church had adoration more than once a month. There is the true power just sitting with Jesus and emptying ourselves, so he call fill it…

  23. I really needed to read this today.  I am guilty of showing my family my worse side, which is so terrible because they are my favorite people on this entire planet.  Thank you for the very timely article.  I will try to commit this line to memory – I forget that my very first mission, as a saintly mom, is to glorify God in my own home.

  24. I am pregnant with our fifth baby, a girl, and my husband and I have been thinking of names and haven’t been able to come up with one.  So, we began praying and asking God to reveal her God-given name.  “Clare” was the name that we kept hearing in our hearts, so we looked up St. Clare of Assisi and learned about her.  We knew this was our baby’s name when we read about what is said to be the last words of St. Clare: “Let the Lord’s name be blessed that I was created”.  This pregnancy was a wonderful surprise for us and we think naming her after this Saint is a beautiful way of honoring God’s will for our family.

  25. I am a catechumen in a two year catechumenate. What helps me to remember God and how to live like a saint is through the heroic virture of my mother. She suffers in great pain, much in her life is a tragedy, but her love for God and for me presses her on. She is my saint on earth.

  26. Thank you for the wonderful tips and reminders! This book looks wonderful. I’d love a copy to help me in my vocation as a wife and mother. I find morning prayer grounds me and helps me focus on the big picture and goal of heaven amidst the daily chaos of family life.

  27. I love to remind my 8th grade Confirmation class, that sainthood is for everyone.  Those who are willing to let God perfect their lives:-)  Like Bishop Fulton Sheen said, “Truth is like a lion.  Let the lion out of the cage and it does all the work.” (paraphrasing)  I think God’s grace is like that same lion.  If you’re willing to let God’s grace wash over you…you are in for some wonderful stuff!

  28. During the aftermath of Sandy, I see countless people living the faith.  We are all called to be saints and it’s during challenging times like this that afford us the opportunity to touch people’s lives in small ways that can make a big difference.  I’ve been thinking a lot about Mother Teresa this past week. She helped one person at time by loving them the way Jesus would. She reminds me there are certain circumstances we can’t change, we just have trust that God is in control. I’m so glad I found your blog. especially this week!!

  29. Finding a work-life-faith balance has really been a challenge for me. I want to be a good mom, while being a faithful servant, and I need to be a good employee as well. It’s something that I struggle with daily, but take comfort in knowing that God knows I am trying my best.

  30. I have this book and have read it many times and love it.  I have a sister in law that would love it too.
    Tracey

  31. Thank you ! would LOVE to win this book! Great blog…following 🙂  I am having a give-away for a Martha Stewart Living-one year subscription on my blog? Ends Nov 6, 2012! @a2c6ee58bfe879db110fb625d79af8b4:disqus http://www.ladolcevitagirl.com/2012/10/yes-i-am-doing-another-giveaway-martha.html

  32. I was born on All Saints Day and have always considered the Saints to be a guiding light in my life.  St. Jude got me through Hodgekins Disease when a newly married and living far from home, St. Anthony has ‘found’ many lost objects.

  33. New to the church; it’s important to me to share the love that Christ has to offer to my mostly grown children who have not grown up in the church so that they may too know Chirst’s love for them.

  34. Shock horror, I am a man! I have given up on hellivision(sic), keep away from filthy animals (aka “pets”), read the bible every day, regularly talk to Jehovah and have given up most worldly “pleasures” and feel so much better for it. It may interest you to know that 98% of Christians are actually going to HELL: Proof: http://TheRaptureIsComing.Wordpress.com

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