This Morning at 435 am I woke up with this verse from St Paul in my head. St Paul says in (1 Cor 4:16) “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” I immediately remembered a paragraph from Van Balthasar book ‘Two Sisters in the Spirit’ when he quote St Therese who also says, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.”
Balthasar writes that St Paul and St Therese were so convinced of following Christ that they could say in all humility, ‘Imitate me as I imitate Christ.’ Now most of us could not say these words in all humility.
So why do we need the saints? First a little psychology. When a child is little it needs to form a bond with the mom. If a bond is not fully formed then the child lack a foundation in all future relationships. This is a first step in basic childhood development. After this stage the child can now begin to form an independent life from the parent.
In psychology the mind need to form a bond with an another person. Now Jesus says, “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart.” So Jesus is the perfect example. But the life of Jesus can seem abstract for some people to follow. But the saints serve as an infinite number of examples for us to follow. The priest needs examples of priest saints. The married couple needs examples of married saints and so on. We can even get more particular and say, the lawyer needs an example of a saint who is lawyer and so on. I think you get the point.
There is a saying in psychology that says, ‘fake it until you make it.’ This mean if you smile you will begin to feel better. If you tell yourself ‘Today will be a blessed day’ chances are the day will be blessed. In a certain way the thoughts of mind create the world we live in. Aristotle would say form a though create an action. Perform an action long enough form a habit. Form a habit eventually form a character. You see a character of a person ultimately begins with a single though. That is why our though life is that important. You will become what you think about.
Back to the point we can form a bond with a saint even if we don’t see them in concrete form, meaning in front of us. Remember basic principle ‘fake it until you make it.’ Now back to original point we can bond with the saints. So by acting as they do we can now imitate Christ.
In my own life as a priest I look to Pope Francis as a wonderful example of holiness. I often look to his example of how I should act as a priest. I trust that in following Pope Francis example I may more perfectly imitate Christ.
So in you own life, who is the saint that you can imitate so that you may more fully imitate Christ?