“Teach me to be a saint.” Those were the words of the young, bright-eyed Dominic Savio as he met and came to know the great St. John Bosco, affectionately known simply as Don Bosco. The words of a child. The desires of a child. The purity of heart of a child.
In a book dedicated to growing in spiritual maturity, why begin with a statement from a mere child?
Scripture tells us that from the overflow of the heart that the mouth will speak (Matthew 12:34). At the heart of Dominic Savio was a consuming thirst for God and a burning desire for holiness. He longed for nothing less than to be a saint. And as history would tell, Don Bosco instructed Dominic and laid out a pathway to holiness, which Dominic faithfully and humbly fulfilled throughout his life. In fact, he lived it so well that in 1954 Dominic was recognized by the Church as Saint Dominic Savio. He actually became a Saint! A holy desire was fulfilled!
Just like falling in love, the spiritual life begins with desire. As we embark upon this forty-day journey together, we too must long and thirst for something more. What Dominic said to Don Bosco we must cry out today in our hearts, “Lord, teach me to be a saint! Set my heart on fire with desire!”
This desire is born from an encounter with Christ, and since you have picked up and are reading this book, I will assume you have had at least one experience with the living God. So from where we stand today, you are likely either: 1) thirsty for more, or 2) in need of rediscovering that thirst.
Take a moment to pause and reflect upon where you currently are in your spiritual life.
Are you just beginning the journey after an incredible encounter with the Lord, anxious to know what’s next?
Have you been walking with the Lord for many years, but burned out and seemingly going through the motions?
Does your heart burn with desire for the Lord and his goodness?
The good news is wherever you are in your spiritual life, Jesus Christ wants to encounter you right there and take you further. If you’ve ever been to a That Man is You! Men’s Program you have heard Steve Bollman boldly proclaim this many times. And he’s right! The God who is meek and humble of heart, full of mercy and compassion, yearns to meet you right there where you stand, no matter where that is.
You don’t have to be a saint to set out upon this journey with us. “If God counted our iniquities, Lord, who could stand?” (Psalm 130:3). The saint is not the one who doesn’t have mess in his or her life; the saint is the one who gives their mess fully to God and allows God into it. It was the saints themselves that taught us that sanctity is in the struggle.
Our pilgrimage ahead will be about entering into this struggle and engaging in the war that exists for our souls, selfishly striving to steal our joy. We will dive into the trenches and attack our fears head on, finding a pathway to holiness amidst the conflict. No longer a far reaching, pie-in-the-sky ideal, the fire for sainthood will begin igniting in our hearts with passion and purpose.
You were made with one purpose: to be a saint! Echoing the words of St. Dominic Savio, “If I am not trying to be a saint, I am doing nothing at all.”his area