Desiring to be saints is the first step

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. As the deer longs for the fountains of waters, so my soul longs for you, O God..... When shall I come and appear before the face of God? Thus we pray in the liturgy of the Mass. The deer that seeks to quench its thirst at the fountain is the figure used by the psalmist to discover the desire for God that nestles in the heart of a righteous man: Be of God, you long for God! Here is the aspiration of one who is not satisfied with the successes that the world offers to satisfy human illusions. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, if he then loses his soul? This question of Jesus places us in a radical way before the grandiose horizon of our life, a life whose ultimate reason is in God. My soul thirsts for God! The saints were men and women who had a great desire to be satiated with God, even with their shortcomings. Each of us can ask ourselves: do I really want to be a saint? Indeed, would I like to be a saint? The answer would undoubtedly be yes: yes. But we must take care that it is not a theoretical answer, because holiness for some can be "an unattainable ideal, a cliché of asceticism, but not a concrete goal, a living reality. We want to make it a reality with the grace of the Lord.

Thus my soul desires you, O God. We must begin by fostering in our soul the desire to be holy, saying to the Lord: "I want to be a saint"; or at least, if I am weak and feeble, "I want to desire to be a saint. And so that doubt may be dispelled, so that holiness does not remain a hollow sound, let us turn our gaze to Christ: "The divine Master and Model of all perfection, the Lord Jesus, preached to each and every one of his disciples, whatever their condition, holiness of life, of which he is the initiator and perfecter: 'Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect' (Mt 5:48)".

He is the initiator. If this were not so, the possibility of aspiring to holiness would never have occurred to us. But Jesus presents it as a command: be perfect, and therefore it is not strange that the Church makes these words ring loudly in the ears of her children: "All the Christian faithful are therefore invited and even obliged to seek insistently holiness and perfection in their state.

As a consequence, how clear must be our yearning for holiness! In Sacred Scripture, the prophet Daniel is called vir desideriorum, "man of desires". Would that everyone deserved this appellation! For to have desires, to want to be holy, is the necessary step in making the decision to set out on a path with the firm resolve to travel it to the end: "... even if I grow weary, even if I cannot, even if I burst, even if I die."

"Let your soul be consumed in desires.... Desires of love, of oblivion, of holiness, of Heaven.... Do not stop to think if you will ever see them come true - as some wise counselor will suggest to you - but stir them up more and more, because the Holy Spirit says that He likes "men of desires".

These are "operative desires, which you have to put into practice in your daily work".

It is therefore necessary that we examine whether our desires for holiness are sincere and effective; moreover, whether we take them as an "obligation" - as we have seen that the Second Vatican Council says - of the Christian faithful, which responds to divine requirements. In this examination, perhaps we can find the explanation for so much weakness, for so much reluctance in the interior struggle. "You tell me that yes, you want to. -Well, but do you want as a miser wants his gold, as a mother wants her child, as an ambitious man wants honors or as a sensual poor man wants his pleasure?

"-No? -Then you do not want."

Let us nourish these desires with the virtue of hope: one can only effectively want something when there is hope of getting it. If it is considered impossible, if we think that a goal is not for us, we will not really desire it either; and our theological hope is grounded in God.