Reading about the Saints

Mary Schaad // Tales From the Trenches


November 3  

If you are like me, sometimes you dread reading stories about the saints. I do not always find them inspiringI more often find them intimidating. As I read about these amazing people who welcomed suffering (even asked for it) and endured hardships that can make even my hardest day look easy, I find sainthood increasingly far from reach. Maybe I can strive for purgatory, but for someone who complains that it is a bad day when the drive-thru line at Chick-fil-A is too long, that would be a stretch. I do not sleep on a mattress made of straw and say fifteen rosaries a day; I am lucky if I make it through one.

Comparatively speaking, how can both the willing sufferer and the complainer make it to heaven? The only way, I think, is to drop the comparison. I cannot compare my life to someone else because neither does God. If I was standing side-by-side with Padre Pio at the gates of heaven, God would not look at Padre Pio and say, “You did so much better at life than her. Come in.” And he would not look at me and say, “Not so good. Look at how much better Padre Pio has done.” It would be the same as if God looked at a peacock and a sparrow and said to the peacock, “You are so much better at being a bird than this sparrow.” They are both good at being birds in their own way.

When I stop comparing myself to others, I free up my heart to love more, to love better. I am free to thank God for giving the other person such beautiful gifts. I am free to stop complaining about my day. Nothing makes me feel more like complaining than making comparisons. So, when I go to meet him, I think our Lord will look at the calling he has given me (and not to Padre Pio). God has called me to be a mother, and I am trying my best to live out this vocation with his love. If I am doing what I am meant to be doing, then I can read my saint books in perfect peace, rejoicing in “all the saints in glory” and their love for the Lord.

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