What is this made-up word, saintspirational? Bet you figured out it is the combination of the words, saint and inspirational. It refers to someone who is striving for sainthood in a way that is inspiring to others. So what does it take to be one of those people? Here’s what I think.
First a note of clarification. I do not capitalize the word “saint” unless referring to an officially canonized Saint. My purpose is to help us all in striving to become little “s” saints, the everyday variety. If by some miracle (you need at least one, usually two) you achieve big “S” Saint status that’s just an added bonus.
Based on what I’ve learned and believe, striving to be a saint requires at least three things; (1) knowing your unique mission in life, (2) using the majority of your time working to fulfill that mission and (3) living virtuously. 3 simple steps. I didn’t say easy. Each has a high degree of difficulty, but are all worthy of our attention and sustained effort. Hard to disagree, but easy to ignore. I hope you don’t.
Where’s the inspirational part come in? Have you ever been around someone who is already living the 3-step plan? Are they not inspirational to you? They are always happy. They are always doing something important. They have seemingly unlimited energy. They make you want to be a better person. You want to hang around them. You want to be like them.
How are you doing in your journey toward becoming the saint you are meant to be? Are you living the 3 steps? How do you know? Want to find out? This part will be both simple and easy. Especially if you like to play games.
For the moment, let’s downplay the first step, knowing your mission. It may be the most difficult step in life so I’ll address it in a future post. For now let’s assume that whatever you are currently doing to be a productive member of society is your mission. That might be school, work, raising a family or any combination thereof. Whatever you spend the bulk of your time doing.
With that in mind let’s find out how saintly you are currently. The game is saintball It rhymes with paintball on purpose. We will be in a constant battle with demons to stay on the path toward sainthood, mainly our own, so the name seems appropriate.
To play you will need a scorecard and the rules. You can get both here. Start with the beginner version. I recommend you look at this over the weekend and start the game on Monday. Play for a week. You will be amazed how quickly you become saintlier. You may also be amazed at all the un-saintly things you do currently. Or maybe that is just me.
The scoring system gives you saint points and a letter grade every day. If you are accustom to earning straight “A’s,” prepare yourself. Striving to become a saint is no easy pursuit, and neither is the grading system. I find this game to be a great daily reality check. It provides you a keen awareness of your current behavior. This awareness will drive rapid improvement, of course assuming you need any.
I do hope you will give saintball a try. The tracking may be a little annoying in the beginning, but the immediate benefit will be worth the small effort. Trust me on that. Why would I lie, I’d lose three saint points and I need all the points I can get.
Next week I’ll give you some tips and lessons learned from the 9 months I’ve been playing. I will confess to only averaging a “C” so far. I have steadily improved and set a goal to average a “B” over the balance of this year. I am counting on your help to provide ideas for scoring well and staying the course. I think we can all accelerate our personal improvement by learning from each other.
I will leave you this week with one recommendation. Eliminate the negatives in your life as quickly as possible. I’m talking about those things that make you unhappy. It may be a situation, person, people, social media, TV shows, the news, whatever. You may not be able to remove them all, but do the best you can. Start with something relatively easy.
Here’s what I did that helped significantly. I gave up watching or reading any news. I found it to be upsetting most of the time. And I didn’t feel like I was learning anything of value to pursuing my mission anyway. I turned it off for a month and seemingly missed nothing. Bad stuff happened. People blamed each other. Nothing got solved. Same old story. It reminded me of the soap opera Melanie and I used to watch in college. Once we started our careers I’ll bet we didn’t watch it for at least a year. One vacation day we tuned in to find that we missed virtually nothing and were able to immediately get back into the story line like we’d never been away. Seriously, try tuning out for a month and see how much your mood improves.
I’m thinking Tuesdays and Thursdays are good blog post days. Next week, saintball tips and mission identification. Or send me a note if you have a better idea.
Have a saintly weekend all! Scott
I’m going to do two things in this blog entry that I don’t plan to do often; quote the bible and discuss an actual canonized Saint. This will rarely happen since I don’t know very many bible quotations, just the more famous ones, and canonized Saint examples are so extraordinary that attempting to emulate them can be discouraging. But for now, let’s take a quick look at one interesting example.
Today is the feast day of St. Maximilian Kolbe. He was arrested in Poland in 1941 and sent to the Auschwitz death camp. Following a prisoner escape, ten men from his barracks were picked to suffer death by starvation as both a punishment and deterrent. Fr. Kolbe was not initially chosen, but volunteered to take the place of one of the men who begged for mercy due to family concerns.
The men suffered the pains of dehydration and starvation and after three weeks only four were left alive. It was on this day, August 14 in 1941 that Fr. Kolbe and three fellow prisoners were killed with injections of carbolic acid. He was 47 years old.
He was beatified by Pope Paul VI in 1971 and canonized by his fellow Pole, Pope John Paul II in 1982. The opening words of the papal decree introducing his beatification were, “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13. He certainly lived that verse.
The reason I am so intrigued by this Saint, and chose to officially publish my book on this date is that he often wrote about our duty to become saints. He didn’t believe it was an option. In fact his own personal first rule of life was “I must become a saint, and a great saint.” He even had a formula for his philosophy, W+w=S, which means, when there is unity between God’s will and our will there is sanctity (saintliness). Of course the challenge is understanding what God’s will for each of us truly is.
Do you know what God’s will is for you? If so, is your will in line with His? If not, do your ever spend time trying to figure it out? If you are not a “God person,” do you have a personal mission in life that guides what you do? Tough questions!
Our Saint Builder Foundation overriding philosophy is that if we were all striving to become saints we would be able to solve all the world’s problems by working together. And it all starts with knowing our individual reason for being. Our mission. And then carrying it out diligently. I believe this is our duty. But it is at our option. Free will. What will you do?
I plan to blog regularly going forward. My goal is to help us all think about where we are at in life, where we want to go from here, and how we should go about getting from here to there. It’s then up to each of us to take action based on the results of that thinking. And praying helps too. Think of it as TAP (think, act, pray)…as in “tap” your potential.
I welcome your thoughts as we go along. You will notice that I use the words us and we often. We are in this together. I am no expert, but I am older and wiser than I once was…aren’t we all?! I’ve been doing my research and working hard to at least improve myself. Let’s figure this saint thing out together. I look forward to the shared journey.
Tomorrow let’s start playing a game.
Yours in aspiring little “s” sainthood, Scott
Here’s the deal, I’ve never done this before. But I’d never written a book either. Let’s give this blogging thing a shot.
Notice that the topic of the book is sAint Me?! The “A” is capitalized (as in Ain’t) on purpose. I’m certainly no saint, but I’m trying. This blog will focus on my journey. Hopefully you can learn from it. Especially the mistakes. In fact, I’d like us to learn from each other. I will give you my experience frequently to help start a discussion. Together we can make a difference in the world.
Wow, that was exhausting…did I mention I don’t know how to type? Just ask Jeni! All for now. Be back soon and thanks for your interest!