For Catholics, we honour people who lived their lives in love of the Lord. We call these people Saints because by their lives, they undoubtedly mirror their love for God. However, this practise has led us to lose sight of the doctrine that all believers are saints.
“In him we were also chosen - having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will - in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ might be for the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:11-12. Those who hope in Christ have been set apart by God for the specific purpose of giving glory to him. This includes ALL who hope in Christ, those who had lived, those who are living and those who will come. THIS INCLUDES YOU!
Paul tells us to “Live as children of the light - for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth and find out what pleases the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8-9). I think the Saints were not given the honour because they lived a good life. They became Saints because they lived a life according to God's will. Their good, righteous and truthful lives happened not because they wanted to do good. Their lives bore fruit because they lived for God and did what pleased God.
What DOES please God? Remember the rich young man who came to Jesus and asked how he can get eternal life. Jesus said, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” (Matthew 19:17). I have been trying to find out what this means and I think what Jesus meant here is that only God can tell you what is good and as a general guide, obey the commands. However, obeying the commandments is not enough because Jesus added, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21).
To live a life that pleases God is to turn our attention from the gifts and turn our attention to the Giver himself. Obeying the commandments is just part of being a Christians. To be a TRUE Christian we must strive to discern Gods will AND do his will. The key here is to discern his will. A Christian who does not pray and discern God's will is not a true Christian. How can you know God's will is you do not sit down in silence and listen to him?
Of course discernment is just part of the story. The true Christian ACTS on his discernment even if it seems impossible, because everything is possible with the Lord. We have to realize that once God makes up his mind to do something, it shall be done. St. Benedict has a simple philosophy, “Ora et Labore”, prayer and work.
Work without prayer and discernment is reckless and stupid. Prayer and discernment without action is dead. Prayer and discernment that leads to action is what pleases God.
May we be able to live a life of prayer and work that will bear fruit so that God will be glorified in our lives.