Michigan pastor Fr. John Riccardo helps us dive into the Scriptures so that we can apply them to our daily lives. In his inspiring and incisive way, Fr. Riccardo addresses the obstacles we all face in becoming mature disciples. How do we learn to forgive? How do we combat fear and understand suffering? How do we worship the Lord, love others as Christ loves us, and fully surrender our lives to God? If you've enjoyed Fr. Riccardo's gifts of teaching and preaching through his broadcasts and podcasts, this book is for you!
What’s My Plan?
Here’s a question I want you to consider: do you, right now, have a plan, and are you working at it, so that one day you will become a saint? We risk misunderstanding the whole point of life if our goal, our plan, is not sainthood. The nineteenth-century French writer Léon Bloy wrote, “The only real sadness, the only real failure, the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint.
Saints respond to the needs that they see in their time. If Elizabeth Ann Seton hadn’t responded to the need she saw, maybe we wouldn’t have Catholic schools in our country today. If Solanus Casey hadn’t responded to the call of God in his life, perhaps tens of thousands of people would never have encountered the incredibly healing power of God and his love.
These saints are gone now. They have handed the baton to you and to me. And now it’s our turn. It’s our turn to fight the good fight, to run the race, to keep the faith. How do we do that?
There are no shortcuts for the next step. We have to take responsibility for what we’re going to do to respond. We have to come up with a plan, if you will, to accomplish the goal.
So what’s that look like? Here is a series of things to think about. This is not an exhaustive list; it’s just a way to get us started:
Prayer. Don’t ask the question, “Do I pray enough?” The answer is no-no one prays enough; it’s not possible. But am I praying as much as I should be praying?
em>Scripture. There is no way I am able to let God form me if I don’t read his word. I have to let him form me, and he forms me through the Scriptures.
Service. Do I reach out of myself? Do I look to volunteer, whether it is in the parish, the local community, or with the poor?
Confession. Do I have as my goal getting to Confession once every two months? And if you haven’t been to Confession in years, just come back!
Mass. Obviously, we need to go to Sunday Mass. But ask yourself this: is it possible for me to achieve greatness when I am feeding on the Eucharist only once a week? Once we’ve really come to understand that the Eucharist is the
greatest source of strength that we could ever encounter in our lives, why wouldn’t we want to come more often?
Sin. What are the one or the two really significant obstacles in my life right now that are keeping me from reaching the goal of sainthood? How am I going to overcome those?
Fasting. Do I ever fast? Jesus doesn’t say, “If you fast...”; he says, “When you fast...” Some of us can’t fast from food because of health reasons, but we can fast from something else, like the news or the time we spend looking at our computers or cellphones.
Alms. Do I give alms? Do I look at the resources that I have as a means by which I can share with the poor?
My encouragement for you in the weeks ahead is to ask yourself, “Do I have a plan to become a saint?” And if you don’t, what is your plan going to look like? Then start working on it. Let’s do the work! I think you’ll be amazed at how helpful it is.