It’s easy to look at the saints and think that holiness involves nothing less than literal poverty, persecution, and martyrdom.
Relax. You don’t have to become a Discalced Carmelite or be fed to lions to become a saint.
Few people are called to the level of heroic sanctity of St. Paul, St. Edith Stein, or St. Francis of Assisi. Yet, we’re all still called to be saints, but through little acts of love and sacrifice that slowly conform our hearts to Christ.
These opportunities for small sacrifices are all around you. You just need to start looking for them.
To help, here are three small ways you can start growing in holiness right now.
1. Choose small sacrifices
Maybe you feel that you’re being cheap by only doing small sacrifices rather than sleeping on a bed of spikes. But you’d be surprised at how tough some of these “small” sacrifices can be!
Here are a few to try:
When out at a restaurant, find out what you want most on the menu and then get your second or third choice instead. If you always crave the bacon burger, getting a veggie burger instead can be tough.
Occasionally skip the pepper and salt. Much easier said than done!
Wear a slightly uncomfortable sweater or shirt from time to time.
We don’t realize how attached we are to our own desires and preferences until we make these small sacrifices. When offered to God, these penances help us make steady progress in holiness.
2. Turn involuntary discomfort into prayer
We just talked about sacrifices you freely choose. But life loves to force us against our will into inconvenient or irritating situations.
Maybe it’s entering your favorite coffee shop and seeing that there’s a line of 10 people ahead of you and only one barista working. Maybe it’s waiting half an hour just to talk to a customer service representative on the phone.
Rather than using these uncomfortable moments as occasions to complain, turn them into moments of prayer. God doesn’t let anything happen to us without offering us a way to turn that occasion into a moment of grace.
So, next time you’re 12 cars behind the drive-thru window, simply say, “Thank you, Lord!”
Tough, right? But how’s complaining going to make your life better?
3. Fill your day with short, spontaneous prayers
Having a designated prayer time is a good way to become disciplined in our prayer lives. But it can also make us forget that God is present with us at all times.
God wants to have a relationship with us throughout our day. Of course, this doesn’t mean talking to Him 24/7 (which is impossible), but it does mean taking time throughout the day to say very simple, sincere prayers, such as “Thank you for this day, Lord,” or, “Jesus, help me.”
Go ahead and give these three tricks a try. Stick with them, and you’ll be surprised at how much progress you’ll make in your walk with the Lord.
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