Hero: someone admired for great
courage. Thus says my dictionary.
Heroic saints: those in Heaven who had the courage to get there. Which is
everyone who IS there. Thus says me.
Yes, that second is my own definition and it's cumbersome, but I believe it's
After all, it takes courage to...
1. admit I am a sinner in need of a Savior
2. put my faith in Jesus Christ, especially when the world around
considers Him insignificant
3. choose to believe Scripture
4. choose to believe 2,000 years of authentic Church teaching
5. choose to live according to Scripture and Church
6. choose to live according to the teachings of Christ, no matter what
7. overcome obstacles to living for Christ
Every saint we've ever read about, every Christian martyr, has had this kind of
courage. They became saints because they lived heroically. Some were martyred
on scaffolds, or by stoning, or in lions' dens. Some endured imprisonments for
their faith. Some led the most ordinary of lives, caring for those around them,
unnoticed by the world.
Not one of the saints we read of was born with heroic, saint-making courage.
The courage most often came gradually, step after baby step, followed sometimes
by a defining leap or two. Along the path there were missteps, moments of
caution, roadblocks. Each saint grew in courage, step by step by step.
"Francis' conversion did not happen overnight. God had waited for him
for twenty-five years and now it was Francis' turn to wait. Francis started to
spend more time in prayer. He went off to a cave and wept for his sins.
Sometimes God's grace overwhelmed him with joy. But life couldn't just stop for
God. There was business to run, customers to wait on. One day while riding through
the countryside, Francis, the man who loved beauty, who was so picky about
food, who hated deformity, came face to face with a leper. Repelled by the
appearance and the smell of the leper, Francis nevertheless jumped down from
his horse and kissed the hand of the leper......" (from Catholic
St. Augustine "spent many years of his life in wicked living and false
beliefs.... he heard about two men who had suddenly been converted on reading
the life of St. Antony, and he felt terribly ashamed of himself. 'What are we
doing?' he cried to his friend Alipius. 'Unlearned people are taking Heaven by
force, while we, with all our knowledge, are so cowardly that we keep rolling
in the mud of our sins!' Full of bitter sorrow, Augustine flung himself into
the garden and cried out to God, 'how long more, O Lord? Why does not this hour
put an end to my sins?' Just then he heard a child singing, 'take up and
read!' Thinking that God intended him to hear these words, he picked up
the book of the Letters of St. Paul and read the first passage his gaze fell
on. It was just what Augustine needed, for in it, St. Paul says to put away all
impurity and to live in imitation of Jesus. That did it! From then on,
Augustine began a new life...." (from Catholic
In the tiny, hidden, day to day circumstances of our ordinary lives, imagine
becoming "heroic!" It sounds presumptuous, doesn't it? But it isn't.
It is not presumptuous at all.
Everyone in Heaven is a saint. So do we really want to be, eternally, anything
"Make up your mind to become a saint," said St. Mary
I'm taking another step, today, toward heroism. I am making up my mind.