St. Martin in the Fields, by William Logsdail, 1888.
It was Sunday morning. Need I say that we were pressed for time? I wasn’t dressed for church yet. I went to check on the last child in the shower and opened the door to singing. “I want to be a sai-ai-aint,” came the 5-year-old voice.
That’s nice. Time to get things moving. But the song kept going. How do I not have time for this? I wondered.
I dashed to the kitchen and grabbed pencil and paper. I let go of what had already been sung. It had been beautiful, but I didn’t want to make up what I thought I remembered. I stood in the doorway and wrote down what I heard, the music free and light, an unconcerned mixing of traditional, pop, and unidentified genres.
I want to be a saint
That is my goal
I can see the Lord
it is the truth
It is the truth, my Lord
I want to be a saint.
What I wish for is what I need
to be a saint
Hup two! what do you know! Hup two! What do you know! (A lot of John Philip Sousa going on here)
I loved the song. I loved the goal. But that she wanted to a be a saint wasn’t news. It is, in the end, what we’re all aiming for. The part that struck me was the idea of need.
What I wish for is what I need, to be a saint.
I’d not really thought about it that way before. If someone would have asked me why we try to become saints, I’d say, well, I guess I’d say: We try to become saints because we love God and God wants us to try and be saints, so that’s how you do it (loving God). God says if we love our neighbor, we love Christ. Directly. And that brings us closer to God. Somewhere in there when you’re not looking, if the movement toward God goes far enough to cross an invisible line, then you become a saint. Since nobody can see the line, you head in the direction of God and hope for the best.
But do I need to be a saint? The idea felt new. Not that God might want it, or I might wish for it, but that I might need it. Like water. To stay alive. To be me. Or, as Matthew Kelly would say (in Australian), to be the best version of myself.
I might need to be a saint in order to breathe, dance, sing, be the mother my children need, the wife my husband needs, the person I was created to be. I might need to be a saint to be happy, weep purely, feel compassion, be fully human.
Could this be true?
Copyright 2014, Michelle Dawn Jones