Strive for holiness

As we get older it can get harder to live out and deepen our faith. But, there are numerous ways to do so.


by Gabrielle Pesek, Writer

October 1978, St. John Paul II gazed over the sea of cheering Catholics embracing him as the new pope. He told them, “Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power… Do not be afraid… So often today man does not know what is within him, in the depths of his mind and heart. So often he is uncertain about the meaning of his life on this earth.”

I have always had a special devotion to John Paul II. In 2014, I went to Rome for his canonization. I witnessed the thousands of people from all walks of life to gather to honor celebrate his successful and holy life, and his official recognition of sainthood. I remember being so moved and inspired by his life and legacy. He was the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years, was a key component in defeating Soviet communism, founded World Youth Day and the list is endless. JPII was just a boy from Poland who simply said, ‘yes’ to God and changed the world. We too are called to say ‘yes’ to God, be saints and change the world.

Becoming a saint starts with your spiritual life and your relationship with God. I have always been taught that Christ is my best friend, and it is completely true. In order to have a good prayer life you have to build a friendship with Christ and that starts with prayer, which is just conversation with him. But he’s not going to force his way into your life, you have to invite him into your heart and into your life. Think about your relationship with your best friend. You don’t go and hang out with her for one hour a week, if even that, to go and not pay attention to what she’s telling you. No, you try to hang out, text or FaceTime her as much as you can because she is your best friend and you want to share every moment with her. You have to do the same with Christ. I go to Him in prayer before I make an important decision, or if I have had a bad day and need to vent, or if I simply want to rejoice and thank Him for all the blessings He has given me. Even when life can be dark and hopeless and it feels like God isn’t there, I know he is just holding my hand so tight it’s gone numb. Make your relationship with Christ a priority in your life.

Another factor to strengthening your spiritual life is studying apologetics and teachings of the faith. Ways to do this is by reading authors such as saints or theologians such as Dr. Scott Hahn, or watch videos from speakers such as Fr. Mike Schmitz or Jackie Francois. Both give such powerful messages on how to live out your faith and how to be the best version of yourself to glorify God. If you are struggling with any teachings of the Catholic Church, listen to Catholic Answers. Catholic Answers is an open forum where anyone can call in and ask questions, or listen as others get their questions answered by Catholic apologists. Maintaining your spiritual life can be a lot, but don’t lose hope, strengthen and deepen your convictions and continue on the path to sainthood.

On the road to sainthood the serpent’s tail is always near using other people to try to bring you down. It can be hard to live out your faith when society seems so against what you believe. You may feel timid or scared to do the smallest acts such as praying before you eat out in public because you are scared of what others or even your friends might think or say. But, in the words of JPII, do not be afraid. Every person has an influence on the world in some way. You influence your siblings, kids you babysit, classmates, etc. Use your influence to be a model of holiness for them and spread Christ’s love. Go out and change the world. Sign up for mission trips, help with your church’s youth group, go to conferences like Steubenville, do all you can to get involved with your faith. It’s not always easy, but as the youth of the Church we are the future, and it is our mission and purpose to be holy and to be saints. Be not afraid, and in the words of St. Catherine of Siena, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”