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May each of us discover our future sainthood

Every now and then, I will find myself attempting to answer this question: if I become a saint, what would be my patronage? St. Adam Ganucheau, patron saint of fill-in-the-blank-here.
Unfortunately, my answers tend to become self-deprecating or obscure. Is there a patron saint for returning to the wrong pew at daily Mass? What if I become the patron saint of people who press the elevator button of the floor that they are currently on so that the elevator doesn’t move for a couple of minutes?
Each of us is called to be a saint and whether we are recognized as canonized saints will be up to the will of God. One of my favorite things about being Catholic is when we celebrate the saints, those that have gone before us and given us a witness on living our faith boldly in various seasons of life.
If we are not thinking in terms of our future sainthood, now is a good time to begin dreaming and reflecting — if I become a saint, what would people say about me? What stories would be shared or what sayings would be passed down for hundred of years? How close am I to sainthood?
In the next few days, our Church celebrates some great saints in the liturgical calendar. Some are well-known, like St. Francis of Assisi on Oct. 4, while others are still on the road to full canonization, like Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos on Oct. 5. While these two men and the other feasts we will mark are worthwhile and good, there are two feasts that would be beneficial to explore for young people and their parents, and thankfully they are back to back: St. Jerome on Sept. 30 and St. Therese, “The Little Flower” on Oct. 1.
It can be difficult for a young person to grow up as a holy, faithful person in the modern culture. While research often shows that anxiety and depression are more prevalent in young people than it has ever been, numbers can only show so much. When talking with a teen today, I often hear the struggles of peer pressure, the noise of digital or social media, family challenges and more. Yet, sainthood is often forged through fire, as some of our most cherished saints preserved in difficult times.
St. Jerome and St. Therese give us two ways for young people and their families to grow in holiness: a childlike faith that is strengthened by a devotion to Sacred Scripture. I believe that these two strategies are both timeless and timely, as a return to a childlike faith steeped in Scripture is a strong way to combat the challenges of today.
Much has been written about the Little Flower, and her autobiography “Story of a Soul” remains recommended sacred reading. Her childlike faith, which she described as a “little way” of holiness, can show us that holiness is possible and achievable when we approach our Lord with childlike wonder and awe. St. Therese trusted in God as a child trusts a parent – fully and without abandon.
As parents and adults who mentor our young people, we are challenged to encourage them to fully trust in the providence and mercy of God. Let us show our young people that being a disciple of Jesus Christ fills us with joy and hope, that each of us are still amazed by the majesty and power of God.
Just as children explore their imaginations with books, so too does our faith life expand when we dive deeper into Sacred Scripture. St. Jerome is most known for translating the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, which made it more accessible at the time and paved the way for the Bible to be translated into other languages like English and Spanish. He said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”
If we do not have a deep appreciation and love for the Word of God, our faith life cannot develop more fully or blossom into sainthood. The Catechism states, “Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word, His one Utterance in whom He expresses Himself completely. In Sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it not as a human word, ‘but as what it really is, the word of God. In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet His children and talks with them.’” (CCC 102, 104)
We are blessed to hear so much of the Bible at Mass with the three year cycle of readings during Sunday Masses and the two year cycle of readings at daily Mass. Yet, Scripture is a deep well that often calls us to a second, or third, or even fourth reading to really reflect and begin to understand what is proclaimed. Lectio Divina is a great practice in the Church and can be adapted for family use. Even beginning with reading the upcoming Gospel, discussing it as a group, and praying that our ears will be fully open to receive God’s word is a great first step.
Living a childlike faith with a deep devotion to Sacred Scriptures is not new or revolutionary, but it does provide a way for us to grow deeper in our faith and to explore the ways we are called to sainthood. May each of us discover our future sainthood, whether we become canonized or not, whether we become the patron saint of something or not.
Adam Ganucheau is the Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministry for the Archdiocese of Mobile. He may be emailed at aganucheau@mobarch.org
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