It was by far the greatest misconception of my youth. When I was in high school and college, I was a rather talented soccer player. I had worked hard for years to practice and hone my craft, but there was one glaring issue that preventing me from succeeding. I stubbornly insisted that I should play mid-field when the reality was that I was better at defense. As a mid-fielder, I was mediocre at best, but as a defender I had great instincts. This inability to accept my role on the soccer team led me to be cut from a Division I team. Things may have been different if I accepted what I was best at.
Many of us do the same with our station in life. We look with envy on other people who seem to have the more glamorous position or the role that gets all the praise. The reason why I did not want to be a defender was that defenders get no glory. Maybe you are not worried about prestige and fame, but perhaps you are like me in that you tend to stick with what reinforces your ego or with what fits your preconceptions. Following Jesus Christ involves constantly allowing the Holy Spirit to shatter such limited ways of thinking.
The truth is that Jesus wants to use our talents and gifts, no matter how lowly they may seem in the world’s eyes. Some of the greatest saints were in positions that the world would see as unimportant. Saints come in every shape and size. To be a saint does not necessarily mean doing great things or holding positions that grab everyone’s attention, but rather doing what you are called to do with unconditional faith, hope, and love.
The interior life of the saint is more important than the exterior activity. We can be a saint in what we are doing today, tomorrow, and in the weeks and years to come. We do not have to wear special cloths or travel to far off lands. Rather, we have to embrace the vocation to which we are called, and let the Lord work in our lives. The canonized saints are certainly to be honored and imitated, but there are also everyday saints who will never be officially recognized.
In the end, the saints in heaven do not care about who is honored and who is not. What matters when all is said and done is that we get to heaven. To do this, we must seek the Lord’s will day in and day out. This is the science of the saints, and it a science that we all must study.