The most important thing a Christian can do in these present times is to become a saint, because the world needs more saints. Saints change the world around them in small and unseen ways, but all for the greater good. The plan of our Heavenly Father is for each of us is to become saints and live in His glory. There are, however, saints that walk among us. Most of these are not those whose names go onto the earthly rolls of sainthood, but who tend to go about the world humbly and unnoticed. These saints offer their lives completely to Christ in the simplest ways.
To the church of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy, with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours (1 Cor 1:2).
For Dad, Sunday morning starts with enjoying a cup of strong café au lait, while contemplating a day dedicated to God and family. The fresh brewed coffee rouses the family to life as the aroma fills the air, floating into each of their rooms. There is something about the smell of coffee that warms a person from the inside out.
This Sunday, Dad has homemade buttermilk pancakes ready for the children as they make their way to the kitchen for breakfast. His oldest son has come in from college for the weekend and is the first to arrive for breakfast.
“Good morning, Pops. That coffee smells so good.”
Dad replies, “Good morning, son. I made pancakes and bacon for y’all.”
“I know. I could smell it all the way upstairs,” the son replies. “I miss waking up to that when I’m at school.”
Laughing, Dad says, “No doubt. It’s good to have you home. Tell everyone to help themselves as they come down. I’m going to go ahead and get ready for Mass. We’re going at 11am.”
As he gets ready for Mass, Dad can hear the happy laughter of his five youngest children enjoying each other’s company and a good, hot breakfast. One of his greatest joys in life is to hear the playful banter and joy for life that his children share, but this morning, he needs to end it. Calling out to the kitchen, Dad breaks up the party.
“Okay, kids. Start getting ready for Mass, we leave in about 20 minutes,” he says, causing them all to scatter to their rooms.
Then sticking his head into their own room, he also gives his wife a heads-up, “Honey, about 20 minutes until it’s time to go.”
His wife responds, “Okay. Can you make sure the kids are getting ready?”
Dad spends the next 20 minutes riding herd on the kids, keeping them all moving in the right direction. Listening to the typical groans and moans of teenagers, he notices with a smile that they tend to all respond in the same way.
“Yes, Dad. I’m getting ready.”
Right on cue, Dad calls upstairs to his children, “Time to go! Get in the car.”
Most of them come running, but one of his teenage daughters dawdles as always. However, she responds to the second, more demanding call.
“Time to go, now!” Dad orders.
All of a sudden, the daughter’s feet can be heard thumping across the floor and down the stairs.
She calls back, “I’m coming!” as she brushes past him toward the family SUV.
On the way to church, the whole family can see that a beautiful summer day has exploded in the South, along with incredible heat. No clouds can be seen for miles around and the lack of motion in the trees signals there is not the slightest breeze in the air. Dad thinks, Today will be a good day to barbecue and float in the cool pool water.
The thermometer in the car indicates 98 degrees. Beads of sweat begin to roll off Dad’s forehead as the air conditioner struggles to respond to the demands of the heat. By the time they reach the church, five minutes away, cool air has started to drop the temperature inside the vehicle. Thankfully, the family has arrived early enough to find a parking spot under the shade of a grand, old, live oak tree. The shade will manage to keep the heat down in the SUV while they are at Mass.
Lifting his youngest child out of her booster seat, Dad and his family make their way into the church. Out of the corner of his eye, he can see her as she walks slowly past most of the congregation without being noticed. A middle-aged woman with long red hair, there is something about her that exudes joy and peace. If spoken to, she will give a brilliant smile and nod in response. Her modest dress deflects any attention as she moves forward into the church for Mass and her normal seat in the last row.
Dad and his family follow behind her as they move toward their own regular seat, four rows from the back of church, on the left. As they pass the woman, he can see her covered head bowed in prayer, calm and serene. Her demeanor communicates a relationship with Christ and her humility keeps her beyond the notice of the average person. She lifts her head to subtly adore the crucified Christ as He looks out on her in love. Her connection to Him is readily apparent to anyone willing to notice.
Dad knows the depth of this woman’s lifetime of suffering from a single conversation that he had with her long ago. She has lived her life in the midst of the storm and found a profound, loving relationship with Christ as He lifted her out of the vortex. This Sunday, Dad reflects on her struggle and sees the great beauty of her love for Christ as she approaches the altar to gain metaphysical union with Him in the Eucharist. Her gentle spirit emanates joy and a humble smile frames her persona as she returns to her kneeling position in the pew, thanking the Lord for this time with Him. It is clear to him that the entire world has disappeared from her view, enraptured as she is in her love for Him.
Leaving Mass, Dad makes it a point to smile at the woman as she slowly moves through the crowd. She returns his smile with one of her own that says Agape! Then the woman disappears into her own space and time as she return to her small blue sedan. Dad finds himself thinking, There are saints among us.
God is good.
Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, by faith we are judged righteous and at peace with God, since it is by faith and through Jesus that we have entered this state of grace in which we can boast about looking forward to God’s glory. This hope is not deceptive, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us (Rom 5:1-2, 5).