Sainthood is our goal. But, sometimes we start to believe it is impossible. In those times, we fall into sin.
My recent experience of the birth of my son was unlike anything I could have ever imagined. My wife was admitted into the hospital for three days and I was her primary caregiver. Having had some experience with life as an inpatient, I knew that it was my role to manage her care, advocate for her, and make sure that we both had thorough understanding of her treatment.
As I reached the third day of very little sleep and several bumps in the road, I noticed that over the previous three days, I had completely abandoned my own needs. She and my child’s needs were always first. Nothing grossed me out, nothing got me upset, nothing bothered me. Whatever needed to be done, I did.
As I reflected, I found how I had felt those “honeymoon” feelings again, that springtime of love. The act of caring, the non-stop acts of love provided a boost not only to her, but to me.
I felt as if I had begun to understand what the term “heroic virtue” means.
On the road to canonization, the first step is for the Pope to recognize an individual’s heroic virtue. A recognition that their life truly exemplified the life that we are called to as members of the Body of Christ. It is easy to think that heroic virtue is reserved to only a few, but we are rapidly loosing that excuse.
We are riding on a wave of canonizations of people that we have lived with and met. Perhaps most notable is Pope John Paul II. During his decades long reign, we learned from him and watched his every move. We watched him bring down Communism, kiss lepers, and bravely persevere through a debilitating illness.
We learned about the dignity of the human person and the proper place of our human sexuality. He is someone that we could easily see as a person living the Christian Life well. He lived this life not because it was easy, not because he was the Pope, but because it was who he truly was as a human person.
Attaining sainthood is our goal. We aren’t going to make it if life is about us and our needs. We are provided countless opportunities every day to chose to live with heroic virtue. I, too often, chose the opposite because it’s more comfortable. But we aren’t supposed to be comfortable. Selflessness will help us reach our goal.
Marriage is a great incubator of Saints. We both know that being a husband is not easy. It comes with great satisfaction and fulfillment, but we are challenged daily. The best way for us to make that next step, that orientation towards the path of sanctity is to actively and daily chose to love and serve our wives before ourselves. By placing her needs before our own, we reduce our selfishness and make more room for love.
As I transition back home, I’m going to make a solid effort to maintain the level of love and concern I had for my wife in the hospital. I hope you’ll join me… just with your own wife.