We as Catholics have good news to share—the good news that each and every person is called to be a saint. In fact, in the early Church, the word "saint" was another name for "Christian." St. Paul addressed his letters this way: "To God's beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints."


But what does it mean to be a saint?


A saint is someone who is fully united to Christ in thought, heart, and action. To achieve this unity, saints devote time for studying the faith every day, and we must do this too. We are all called to get to know Christ through the mind so that we can better understand him in our hearts, and translate our knowledge and love into doing his work. We must sit and reflect on his words in scripture, the teachings of the Church, and the writings of the great thinkers, saints, and philosophers who have come before us.


God has given us the gift of talent to bring us closer to him and to spreading his word. We are called to use these talents in our family life and professionally, so as to work for God. And to work for God, we must study. We must become experts in our talents, through the study of a profession or a creative pursuit, so that we can use our gifts to glorify God.


To become a saint, we must look to Christ. In the Gospels, we learn that Christ was a man of both intellect and study. The Gospel of Luke in particular tells us that Jesus, as a young boy, listened to the teachers in the Temple, and asked questions that left them astounded. We know that Christ had an intimate knowledge of the scriptures—he studied them and lived their messages.


Jesus himself teaches us that the scriptures will lead to our salvation. In Luke, he tells the parable of a rich and greedy man who ends up in Hell, and appeals to Abraham to save his brothers, who are leading similarly wicked and extravagant lives. Abraham responds to the man, "They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them." We too must hear the teachings of the prophets and of Christ, and come to know our Lord through our studies.


Pope Francis tells us that study allows us to "form convictions that strengthen and structure our intellect and enlighten our will." But he cautions us that our study will be "fruitful only if done with an open mind on one's knees." We need to open our minds and our hearts to God through prayer, and admit a willingness to learn, an understanding that we do not have all the answers. We need to break open the scriptures and study philosophy and spiritual readings every day.


In addition to the study of spiritual readings, we must develop our talents and skills, both professionally and at home. We should follow the example of St. Paul, who learned to make tents, and sat amongst the tent makers, teaching about Christ's love. In our own professions, we must study to be the best we can be, and bring those around us to Christ. We can only become the people God means us to be—saints in his Church, disciples in his world—when we devote ourselves to prayer and study. In this, we will win hearts for God.

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