The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


Be a saint: All Saints Day homily from 2007

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From last October, here’s part of my homily for All Saints Day 2007:

Shortly after he converted to Catholicism in the late 1930s, Thomas Merton was walking the streets of New York with his friend, Robert Lax. Lax was Jewish, and he asked Merton what he wanted to be, now that he was Catholic.

“I don’t know,” Merton replied, adding simply that he wanted to be a good Catholic.

Lax stopped him in his tracks.

“What you should say,” he told him, “is that you want to be a saint!”

Merton was dumbfounded.

“How do you expect me to become a saint?,” Merton asked him.

Lax said: “All that is necessary to be a saint is to want to be one. Don’t you believe that God will make you what He created you to be, if you will consent to let him do it? All you have to do is desire it.”

Thomas Merton knew his friend was right. Merton, of course, would go on to become one of the great spiritual thinkers and writers of the last century. His friend Bob Lax would later convert to Catholicism himself — and begin his own journey to try and be a saint.

But the words Lax spoke ring down through the decades to all of us today. Because they speak so simply and profoundly to our calling as Catholic Christians.

You should want to be a saint. And to be one, all you need is to want to be one.

Of course, if you only want to be a run-of-the-mill, average Christian, that’s probably all you’ll ever be. Every one can do just enough to get by. It’s not hard.

But the message Christ sends to all of us is an invitation to be something more. In the words of the old Army recruiting ad: be all that you can be.

Be a saint.

Visit this link for the rest.



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duke

posted October 31, 2008 at 10:57 am


I remember this story and I remember this homily.It was, as all of your homilies are, a good one.Peace to you.



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Brian Flaherty

posted October 31, 2008 at 12:50 pm


Thank you for this. I teach Theology and had my students read this last year on All Saints Day.



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Fr. Christian Mathis

posted October 31, 2008 at 9:35 pm


very cool. the same story that I was planning to use tomorrow to begin an all saints homily!



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Mr Flapatap

posted November 1, 2008 at 5:11 pm


“All that is necessary to be a saint is to want to be one. Don’t you believe that God will make you what He created you to be, if you will consent to let him do it? All you have to do is desire it.” This is the most powerful quote that I have heard in a long time.



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