OTTAWA (CCN) — Popular Canadian Catholic speaker Ken Yasinski offered practical suggestions to the New Evangelization Summit here April 24 on how to answer the church’s universal call to sainthood.
The founder of Face to Face Ministries said pursing sainthood is about “living with the end in mind.”
Yasinski, who grew up in Saskatoon as the oldest of seven children, said his brother Dan, now Father Dan, asked him once, “What do you want on your gravestone?”
His priest brother joked his would say, “I knew this was going to happen.”
Yasinski recalled how when his first baby was born, she came into the world naked, without a name. We go out the same way, he said. Death is also “the great equalizer,” in that we can’t take our reputation, our toys, our jobs, our houses with us.
“Everything stays except two things: our own soul and the souls of other people we’ve affected,” he said. “It would make sense to invest our lives into what lasts.”
Most people do not think ahead to the end of their lives and their ultimate destination, he said. They “keep their fingers crossed” and hope everything will work out OK.
“The problem of aiming at nothing is you hit at everything,” he said. If we were to ask Jesus what life is good for us, he would tell us to be saints and to be holy.
The question is how we answer the universal call to holiness, he said. “What good is this information unless it can transform us?”
Yasinski offered four principles to help answer the call.
The first: “sainthood is now,” he said. “There is one moment that rises about every other moment and it is right now. This is all we have.”
“Life is right now, not yesterday and not tomorrow,” he said. “We can only live one moment at a time.”
“All we’ve got to work with and all God is expecting us to work with is this moment,” he said.
And the key to experiencing and releasing God’s grace in the moment is to “do the next loving thing,” he said. “It’s simple; it’s just not easy.”
St. Therese of Lisieux wrote of how doing something small and simple such as picking up a pin someone had dropped with great love could convert a sinner, he said. Doing the next loving thing will “usher grace into the world.”
The second principle: “sainthood is here,” he said. “The ‘here’ captures the ‘now.’ ”
What are the responsibilities required by my circumstances for the next loving thing? he asked.
For him it means taking out the garbage, doing the tasks on his wife’s “to do” list, sweeping the floor, shovelling the driveway or getting on the floor and playing Lego with his two-year-old, he said.
Some of us have “circumstance sickness” or “destination disease” that requires our circumstances to change to see Jesus, he said. Yet our present circumstance is “where God is asking us to grow.”
“We want comfort, not the cross,” he said. “Doing the next loving thing and faithfulness to our present circumstance is the best preparation for our future calling.”
The third principle: “sainthood is for all,” he said. He acknowledged it is hard when we compare our own lives to those of the church’s great saints.
We are not called to “be copycats of saints’ lives, but holiness leaves clues,” he said. “We can see what works and apply what works to our lives.”
You are not going to find saints who will say, “you don’t have to go to mass,” or “you don’t have to develop a habit of prayer,” he said. “You are not going to find a section for all the lazy saints who passed their responsibility on to others and sat back on the couch.”
The fourth principle is “sainthood multiplies,” he said. When we seek Jesus and he starts changing us, we become “contagious.”
People will ask, “What do you have that I don’t?” he said. “We will set the world ablaze with his love.”
God wants you to be a river not a reservoir, he said. Some Christians have the Dead Sea mentality — no water flows out of the Dead Sea. This mentality is the unholy trinity of “me, myself and I,” he said.
“The apostles did not keep Jesus for themselves, they gave him to the world,” he said. “If we keep it to ourselves, the grace of that experience slowly begins to die.”
God gives us grace “for the sake of other people who need to be encouraged,” he said.