Thursday, 16 February 2012

Sainthood: God's plan for all of us

Although I was baptised a Catholic, and attended mass during my childhood, I stopped practicing the faith during most of my teenage years because I did not have a personal relationship with God. God was in the background of my life, and even though I believed in Him and had a devout and doctrinally-orthodox Catholic religious education teacher, I rarely prayed, never read the bible except in religious education class at school, and was quite sinful. Interestingly and quite importantly, I still now remember a lot of my religion teacher’s classes, and I am very grateful to him for his inspirational efforts to instruct us in the faith.

Thankfully, I came home to the Catholic Church in mid 2006 after a series of events which led to me questioning who I was exactly. Put simply, I had built my life on poor foundation (myself), just like a house built on sand. I found myself in chaos, the wind came and knocked over my house. I'll write about this in my blog later on.

Talk about a lesson in humility! Lucky I rebuilt my house on the solid foundation of Christ, and the winds have come and tried to blow my house down, by it is still standing, reinforced by the 2000 year old tested and proven ways of the Catholic Church.

What about myself? I’m passionate about helping people, and I know that the best way to do this is to encourage and give hope to others. I believe that Christ offers the best inspiration, example and hope to all people.

Put bluntly, I want to become a Saint. Not so that I will be given honour, but because I know that being a Saint, especially in today’s world is life’s hardest mission and one that requires the most effort, and above all the most love. And yes, if I can inspire people then that is a great thing too.

However, I know that I can never become a Saint without the grace of God, so I try to spend a lot of time with God, mostly in prayer. Prayer is a treasure for my soul, and I love it. I never tire of praying, and I feel a duty to pray unceasingly as St Paul exhorts. I also go to visit Jesus in the adoration chapel where He is. I try to attend daily mass and read scripture daily. I guess my spirituality is a mix of Charismatic and Carmelite.

While I have considered the Priesthood as a vocation, I do not believe that it is my calling at this time. I am planning to go to Bible College next year, which is very exciting. I ask you to pray regarding my discernment of vocation and in general, and in return I will pray for all of you.

I am writing this blog because I feel that I have had quite a few diverse experiences, which I find are extremely encouraging, and that which I know which would benefit many others. Above all, I aim to encourage so my posts will mostly be uplifting.

Lastly I encourage you to give me feedback about my posts so I can make them better. You can offer suggestions for future posts, corrections, comments on them, or ask questions.

Thanks, and May God bless you

Chris Paynter

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Preface: The path to being a Saint.

We are living in the Age of Confusion, where many people find themselves lost amongst vast numbers of choices and decisions. Sometimes it is difficult to believe in the miraculous, when TV shows attempt to make the holy profane and superficial. We might think: “Are there Saints in this world? I’m not sure they even exist anymore”.

So do you feel somewhat discouraged? Do you think that you will never be a Saint? After all, you might say, I have so many faults and I do not have the qualities of a Saint. Well I’ve got news for you! Many Saints felt the same way, and some even lived terrible sinful lives before doing a 180ยบ turn into holiness. St Augustine was one of these, who had unholy parties very often before he converted. His mother prayed for 40 years that he would change, and after all this time, the fruit of her prayer was wonderful. After his death, Augustine was named a Saint, and a Doctor of the Church.

Then one might suggest Saints are people from a past era. Just consider a few of the saintly that inspire me. Like St Padre Pio (made a saint only 50 years ago); and Blessed Mother Teresa and Blessed John Paul II who are only one step away from Sainthood. We also have other Saints who were not amongst the consecrated.

The other day, even though I was aware of the stories of these amazing Saints, and even though I was aware I had improved myself very much compared with even four years ago, I felt disheartened. I said to the Lord with a sigh; “How can I become a Saint?” And He responded with the interior words and with the simple message: “Little by little”

Suddenly I felt better, and this encouragement strengthened me. Even I could become a Saint! It was possible! And what the Lord told me was that if I tried hard enough, I could become holy. I then remembered what a good priest had said to me in the confessional a while back: “Try to remove one of these faults in the next week”. The priest had told me as what did the Lord. The priest didn’t say “Try to remove all of these faults in the next week” -- he said "remove one". 

Then I remembered, in my excitement and joy, “I had not committed that sin since that last confession, and I have sinned less”. Yes, perhaps I could become Holy. Then I thought, “God you’re awesome, you’ve worked it all out so that Saints are not called Saints (with a capital S) by the obedient Church faithful during their lives, but after their death. That way they can be humble.” 

Praise the Lord!

* * * *

On closing, take heart, you don’t need to bi-locate, read hearts, be a Pope, or be globally famous to be a Saint. Of course, if God wishes, he may call you to have those gifts and means as did some Saints.

Aiming for Sainthood means living a pure, humble and honest life, and this comes through loving your neighbour. And Loving the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. However if in doubt remember God’s wisdom -- what it may take to improve your life is to do it “little by little”.