Julie Hall, Youth Speak News

Saintly mission to labour for God

By  Julie Hall, Youth Speak News
  • December 11, 2015

We are all called to be saints as we are all called to claim our place in Heaven as children of God. Because this is no easy task, God has given us the saints that have come before us as a huge source of inspiration.

Representing all that is good in the world, the lives of the saints are something I often choose to reflect upon. I think we can all benefit from doing so.

In Grade 8, I was going through a catechesis program for Confirmation at my home parish in Orangeville, Ont. To help us pick our own Confirmation saints, we were told to pick a saint card randomly. I picked St. Alphonsus Liguori.

I never truly understood the definition of piety until I read about his life. Italian Catholic bishop, founder of the Redemptorist order and author of The Way of the Cross, Alphonsus Maria de’ Liguori taught me what it means to devote yourself to God in all that you do. Few saints have laboured as much, either by word or by writing, as St. Alphonsus.

When he was thinking of leaving his career in law, he wrote to a colleague: “My friend, our profession is too full of difficulties and dangers; we lead an unhappy life and run the risk of dying an unhappy death.”

I love this quote with all my heart because it shows how a life without God is simply an unhappy one. This quote makes me want to live a life full of meaning through Christ. It really opened me up as a person and inspired me to get more involved in youth ministry.

As a bishop, Alphonsus fed the poor, taught theology, reorganized religious houses and the seminary, instructed families and wrote. His pains and sufferings were intense. He suffered daily pain from the rheumatism that was already starting to deform his body. He spent several years having to drink from tubes because his head was so bent forward, yet this did not slow him down.

St. Alphonsus taught me that to labour for God is to help with ministry, to attend Mass and to bring others with you. To somehow find a way to fully incorporate your faith into everything that you do, and to inspire others while doing so.

St. Alphonsus ultimately led me to researching the lives of other saints. The list goes on and on as there are so many incredible saints who have paved a path to holiness for all of us to follow.

Perhaps the most inspiring parts of saint stories are the humanity that can be seen in them all. No single saint is perfect. They experienced many of the same inner joys, challenges and struggles that we do.

They were used by God as His instruments despite their human weaknesses. They differ greatly in their backgrounds but they are unified in their deeply rooted love for God and their desire to serve Him. This led the saints of our Church to embark on some of the most inspirational journeys I can think of.

(Hall, 17, is a candidate for the philosophy program at Trent University in Peterborough, Ont.)

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