Raise Your Expectations: How Saints Live Differently

Fr. Mark-Mary talks about how to live your best life (but in a Catholic way).

When we read the lives of the saints, we could be inclined to think that they were way more holy than us, and that they had these extraordinary gifts that made it easy for them to become saints. It’s easy to think that becoming a saint is an unrealistic goal. But the truth is, the saints were just like us. They just chose to live differently, and we can too.

“Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Romans 12:2

A lot of the time, in trying to judge whether we’re living a life centered in Christ, we compare ourselves to those around us, especially nonbelievers. The problem with this is that, just as it says in Romans 12, we’re not called to be good or better by the world’s standards. We’re called to be saints. And to be saints, it’s going to require an outlook that doesn’t compare ourselves to those around us, but to strive for the perfection of Heaven

How can we do this? The answer is a little different for everyone, but it all consists in following the life of Christ, and living in accordance with his teachings. Things like committing ourselves to daily prayer, avoiding sin, performing works of charity; all of these things allow ourselves to transcend this world and reach for the eternal. Everything we do to strengthen our relationship with Christ gets us one step closer to being saints. 

The saints were people who saw this life on earth as an opportunity to better themselves for the sake of the Kingdom. It’s something that each of us can consciously choose to do every day. The beauty of this approach is that, the more we surrender ourselves to the Lord in little ways, the easier it becomes to surrender in larger ways. Powerhouse saints like St. Francis and St. Clare didn’t just magically surrender every part of themselves to Christ; it all started with little things like saying a morning offering every morning, or refraining from gossiping, or volunteering at their local charity. And this is what we are all called to do.

Instead of judging the success of your life by looking at those around you, look instead to the Church and the lives of the saints, and ask yourself “What more can I do to give my life to Christ?” We aren’t called to be conformed to the world, but to transform it through our faith and our witness. How does our knowledge of what the world values compare to our knowledge of what the Church values, and how can we live today as a saint in-the-making?

Meet Fr. Mark-Mary

Father Mark-Mary was ordained as a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal (CFR) in 2018 and lives at a friary in the Bronx.

The mission of the CFRs is to wholeheartedly embrace Jesus through fidelity to the Church and her Sacraments. Paired with their commitment to prayer, contemplation, and study of Sacred Scripture, the CFRs serve those around them, especially the poor, in the footsteps of Christ.

Discover beautiful music from the CFRs and Fr. Mark-Mary’s book Habits for Holiness: Small Steps for Spiritual Progressboth available from Ascension.