Unto the church of God …, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, … who … call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. I Corinthians 1:2
Those who have been made holy in Christ Jesus, are now called to be holy. Do we imagine that we ourselves are called to be saints? This is what the Greek says. Do we excuse ourselves, and our congregations, as though such an ambition was only for monks and nuns? Yet this is what St Paul says is the requirement for all who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus. We are made holy in Christ, now we need to become holy ourselves, by the grace of God.
To be holy is not to avoid bad things, but to become entirely consecrated to the will and service of God in humble obedience by the grace of God. It is to be able to say and to live out that it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.
The one who is becoming a saint is increasingly aware of his or her own sinfulness and reliance on God at every moment. They are the ones who commit themselves to a life of unceasing prayer for themselves and others, because they have become aware through experience that they can do nothing of any value in their own strength.
The one who is becoming a saint has abandoned self-will, and does all for Christ and for others. Where there is a need, the one who is becoming a saint attends to it quietly and without fuss, even at great cost to themselves. The one who is becoming a saint does not insist on his or her own own will, or preference, or opinion but gives thanks to God for all things, in all circumstances.
If we find ourselves irritated by others, frustrated that our own will is not being worked out, anxious that others might have their plans brought to fruition and not ours, then we have not yet become saints. The one who is becoming a saint thinks of themselves last and least. Does not press forward his or her own preferences or opinions. Speaks less than others. Prays more than others and for all others, even those with whom their might be disagreement. And in all things says… Behold the servant of the Lord. Your will be done.
The path to sainthood, to holiness, is not an optional extra. It demands the sacrifice of all self-will in service to God and others. It is the life of love in the Holy Spirit, renewing and transforming the heart. We are all of us called to be saints. Put aside all else that prevents this becoming a reality. Identify all selfish desire as being the opponent of sainthood, and every movement of the heart in frustration and doubt as being a sign that we have not yet attained that which God desires for us.
Unceasing prayer, frequent and immediate repentance, heartfelt thankfulness for every gift of God, communion in the sacraments and sacrificial service of all others. This is the way to saintliness.