The desire to be holy is something that all of us should possess in our hearts. Above all the desires that we have, striving for holiness as we seek Jesus should be our heart’s utmost desire. Holiness does not mean perfection or being sinless, though this is to be strived for, but it primarily means to be set apart from this world to be in the service of God. Holiness is not about doing grand or extraordinary things, yet it is about doing small and ordinary acts with relentless love.
Even though it is hard to believe that we can choose the path to holiness because the world tells us that we are incapable of becoming persons pleasing in the eyes of God, our devotion to Mary and the saints will help us see that holiness is possible for everyone. These people are not the kind of people who possess power or riches, at least not in the language of this world. Their power and riches come from their humility and obedience—allowing God to turn their nothingness to something of value.
Humility is acknowledging our “littleness” and the fact that we have no leverage in our position before God. In realizing that we have nothing stupendous to offer, we become fully dependent on His grace. This submission enables God to use us as magnificent instruments and to perform in us and through us the Father’s will. When we become humble before the Lord, it is then when the Holy Spirit moves immensely in us—transforming our selfish desires into love for our neighbor and for Him.
Only through having humility will we be able to obey God tremendously. Our obedience to His will is not based on emotions or feelings. It is not based on what we can get out of it. It is solely based on our faith and love for Him. We obey because it is our way of saying “Yes” to Him and our expression of how much we adore Him.
These two characteristics are what I learned most as I devote myself to these holy people. Also, I’ve realized that what makes them holy is not because of how great they are but because of how they allowed God to be so great in them. Undeniably, our status, background or any merit are nothing to God. What matters to Him is our willingness to take up our crosses and to follow Him.
I, too, strive to live a life of holiness each day. As part of the MFC Youth, I know that I am also called to turn away from the ways of this world for it will only separate me from the Lord. I am called to empty myself from myself in order to become a channel of grace without stains of selfishness or self-serving interest. However, although I am committed to do so, sometimes I still find myself struggling. Due to the pressure of social media and standards being imposed on me by the world, it really takes a lot of grace to be able to do it. But by looking at how Mary and the saints lived their lives, I know I’m not the only one going through these. These people who came before me also went through this excruciating process and yet still chose to stay in the path of holiness. This gives me hope that even though it is difficult and painful, if it is for His glory, I know it will be worth it.
As MFC Youth, it is not through shedding blood that we can become holy but by dying to ourselves each day so that Jesus may live in us. Dying to ourselves entail being selfless and thinking of ourselves less. It could be easier said than done, but I believe that it is not impossible—it can still be done for His grace and love never fails.
Being devoted to Mary and the saints does not mean treating them equally like God. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are holy by nature, while these people are holy by grace. Devotion to them does not take away the love that we have for God but amplifies our love for Him. When we consecrate ourselves to them, we all the more consecrate ourselves to God. Quoting St. Louis de Montfort, “Indeed we only honor Mary that we may the more perfectly honor Jesus, inasmuch as we only go to her as to the way in which we are to find the end we are seeking, which is Jesus.” This is also the very reason why we devote ourselves to the saints.
May our devotion to these holy people inspire us to imitate their lives and choose the path to holiness. We implore to them not just to be our intercessors, but also to be our role models. By making them as our examples and inspirations, I have faith that we can also be like them—holy, righteous, and faithful servants of God.
Roma Suliguin is a Mission Volunteer serving under the LIT Program of MFC Youth.