Saints sometimes feel far off from us. They seem to be those super good and holy people who rarely did anything wrong and were practically super human! After all, how else could they attain spiritual perfection?
But did you know that we are all called to be saints?
You may think the call to sainthood is impossible. But for God, nothing is impossible.
The grace of holiness is open to us all and we are all meant to be saints. Being saints just means being totally united to God! That sounds simple, but we know it’s not easy.
In his new book, From Humdrum to Holy, Father Ed Broom, O.M.V. lays out a plan to attain holiness and happiness.
Here are nine simple steps you can start taking today to become a saint.
1. Remember the 10 m’s
Fr. Broom starts by giving 10 simple ways to start or continue becoming a saint.
Morning Prayer: Begin your day by offering Jesus, through Mary, your thoughts, actions, and prayers
Meals: Pray before all your meals!
Meditation on the Bible: Read a little bit from the Bible everyday and pray with what you read. Don’t be afraid to skip around however you’d like!
Mass and Holy Communion: “…if we want to live eternally, we must nourish our souls frequently with the body and blood of our Lord.”
Mercy toward Others: The end of the Our Father is very clear that we are to forgive others as we wish to be forgiven. Christ gives us the perfect model of mercy on the Cross.
Manners in Church: We must re-cultivate in our lives the sense of the sacred and of mystery, especially in church, since it is there that Jesus is fully present in the Blessed Sacrament
Meekness and Gentleness of Heart: Meekness is not weakness but rather a powerful virtue that keeps our anger and resentment of others under control.
Master Jesus, Our Heavenly Model: We find in Jesus, “the way, and the truth, and the life,” (John 14:6) and so we can discover in the life of Jesus the way to lead a holy life.
Mission: As Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19-20, we are sent out to evangelize all nations! This is our mission, to bring Christ to all peoples in many different ways.
Mary Most Holy and the Rosary: “Mary is, indeed, the quickest, easiest, most efficacious path to Jesus.”
2. Grow in knowledge of yourself
From Socrates to Saint Ignatius of Loyola, all agree that “self-knowledge is an indispensable tool for growth in holiness.”
Fr. Broom focuses on the fourteenth rule for discernment: the kryptonite rule.
Find your weakness and learn how to strengthen it. Do you find yourself in a state of desolation? Do you experience laziness in prayer like the apostles did when the abandoned Jesus in the Garden of Olives? Do you find yourself spiritually weakened when you experience physical sickness? Do failures of any kind in life cause you great turmoil?
It is important to know how we are weak so that we can build up our strengths and defenses in them and not allow the devil an entryway.
3. Make a plan of life
One concrete way to grow in holiness is to formulate and write out a plan of life.
Pick a yearlong theme for your plan such as a corporal or spiritual work of mercy or one of the Beatitudes. After this, honestly examine areas of your life that may need improvement, such as prayer, confession, or work, and create a short, practical proposal for improving them.
For example, perhaps you find you need to work on penance in your life. To improve this area of your life, understand why penance is important and then pick a small penance to do regularly, such as abstaining from meat on all Fridays.
4. Improve your prayer life
Here are five steps you can take “to improve your prayer life, grow in holiness, be a source of holiness to others, and experience greater peace and joy”. First, have conviction. Then, head to confession. Set times to pray, and make it to Mass and receive Holy Communion. Finally, seek out Our Lady and the Rosary!
5. Increase your patience
Most of us say, at some point or another (if you’re like me, perhaps you say this multiple times a day), “God, grant me patience!” but we find it hard to actually practice patience.
Father Broom suggests that we persevere in begging for help when it comes to patience. Christ offers a perfect example for patience, especially when it comes to the Passion. Another beautiful patroness for patience is Our Lady of Sorrows.
6. Cultivate gratitude
Life gives us a lot to complain about, but even more to be thankful for. There are many areas of our life to be thankful for!
How often are we thankful for the fact that we are alive? The Catholic Church also offers many opportunities for gratitude. Take time to thank the Lord for things like the Eucharist, Divine Mercy, the Holy Spirit, and the Blessed Mother.
7. Root out envy
“Sibling rivalry; anger over someone else it the game-winning home run; depression over the beauty that her best friend has and she does not; disappointment that his small car and his shotgun apartment don’t compare to his old classmate’s Jaguar and multi million dollar house with a swimming pool, these are all signs of envy,” writes Fr. Broom.
The capital sin of envy comes with some ugly consequences including anxiety of the soul, gossip and slander, insomnia, ulcers, family fights, sabotage, murder, destruction of charity, and frustration with spiritual progress.
Fr. Broom counsels, “Don’t let envy fester inside you. Examine your life, your actions, and most importantly, your intentions.”
8. Form a healthy conscience
There are many different kinds of consciences but not all of them are good or healthy.
A healthy conscience will react correctly to actions. “When he acts virtuously, his conscience is filled with peace,” Fr. Broom writes.
A delicate conscience is above and beyond a healthy conscience and desires “to give the Lord all that he is and has, to the utmost.”
An enlightened conscience “seeks true light in the word of God…the Magisterium…the teachings of the popes, their documents, and especially their encyclicals, and in the lives, writings, and examples of the saints…”
Learn how to rightly form your conscience to grow in holiness and understanding of the ways of God.
9. Go to confession
This is the one a lot of people struggle with (including me!) because it’s hard and exposes your weakness and shame and it’s ugly and embarrassing.
The mercy of God truly abounds in the sacrament of Confession, where we accept our guilt, resolve to do better, make amends with Christ and His Church, and receive the grace to sin no more!
We should want to go to confession and to make good confessions. Fr. Broom offers suggestions to have a better confession. He recommends that you resolve to receive the sacrament well, and pray before your confession.
Don’t just think of your sins in the confession line! Begin preparing the night before, which can help boost your self-knowledge. Turn to Scripture for inspiration, and make sure you confess your sins frequently.
By developing the qualities of a good confession, you’ll be more open to receive the sacramental grace Christ offers! Don’t be discouraged when it comes to confessing your sins, and always turn to Mary for Heavenly help.
For more on all of these and other ways to turn your ordinary life extraordinary, pick up a copy of Fr. Ed Broom’s book, From Humdrum to Holy, and start becoming a saint today!