Why is it that the saints were able to accomplish so much in relatively short time?  The response: FAITH AND LOVE FOR GOD!    The saints had a limitless faith in the love and in the power of Almighty God. But then they manifested their love for God by apostolic zeal—a thirst for the salvation of souls!

St. Francis Xavier, St. Louis de Montfort, St Francis of Assisi, St Thomas Aquinas, St Charles Borromeo, St, John Neumann all had at least to things in common: they are now canonized saints praising God forever in heaven and they all died even before they reached fifty!

The extraordinary missionary feats, the incredible zeal for souls and Mary, the uncompromising evangelical poverty, the zeal for reform in the Church, the love for the Eucharist and Parochial schools--- yes, so much was accomplished by one man!

Jesus said that He came to cast fire on the earth and that He is not at peace until that fire be enkindled.   The saints were men and women consumed with a burning fire to promote the honor and glory of God and an insatiable hunger to save souls.

The last words that Saint Ignatius of Loyola said to Saint Francis Xavier as he was sent off to India to be the greatest missionary only after Saint Paul were, “Go set all on fire.”  This, the saint took literally!  At the end of many of his days he could no longer lift up his arm anymore because he had baptized so many souls in that one day!   This is fire!

Saint John Bosco had a deep faith and a passion for Jesus and the salvation of souls. It was this great saint that gave his life’s blood for the salvation of the young people of Turin and eventually the world at large.

A young lad felt an irresistible attraction to this saint and entered into his office. On the wall was posted some saying in Latin.  The boy inquired of Saint John Bosco as to the meaning of the saying.   Bosco translated:  “Give me souls and take all the rest away.”    This was the motor force and motto of Saint John Bosco’s life—to save as many souls as he possibly could, with the help of God’s grace.

St Thomas Aquinas, the greatest theologian in the Catholic Church, teaches that one immortal soul is worth more than the whole created universe.  He also teaches that one soul that prepares himself well, goes to confession, sincerely repenting of his mortal sin and leaves the confessional forgiven, is greater than the creation of the whole universe.  For this reason, the understanding of the value of an immortal soul, did the saints extend themselves even beyond the limits of mere natural powers!

Why did Saint John Mary Vianney fast on potatoes, sleep on the floor, scourge his poor body to the shedding of blood, sleep three hours a night, and spend from 10 to 18 hours in the confessional for close to forty long years???? Why?   The response is the same that all saints agree on--- the value of the immortal soul and the honor and glory of God.

The saints also are keenly aware of the price of an immortal soul.   The Word of God teaches us that we are not redeemed through the price of gold or silver, nor the blood of lambs or goats. Rather, we have been purified, sanctified and redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

PADRE PIO.  One of the most famous modern saints is Saint Padre Pio.  A modern saint who died in 1968 and canonized by Blessed Pope John Paul II is one of the most venerated and loved saints in the modern world.

Among the many extraordinary accomplishments of this great man of God was the willing acceptance of the stigmata.

In 1918 while praying in front of a crucifix, Padre Pio received the same mystical grace and gift that his Father Founder Saint Francis received seven hundred years earlier--- the gift of the stigmata.

His hands, and feet and side were pierced in imitation of our loving Savior’s crucifixion on Good Friday.  Jesus told Padre Pio that he would carry these wounds in his body for fifty years and then they would disappear. This prophecy indeed came true.  In 1968 shortly before Padre Pio died, after carrying these wounds of Christ for fifty years, the wounds disappeared!

Why did Padre Pio willingly accept these wounds that entailed so much suffering? Someone once asked him if the wounds hurt him?  With a bit of irony he responded: “These are not decorations!”   He suffered these wounds of Christ as a victim soul to repair for the many sins of the world, but also for the conversion and for the salvation of sinners.

For this reason Saint Faustina stated: “Love for God is measured by the willingness to suffer for the loved one and for the salvation of souls.”

If we love God then we should love what God loves!   In all of God’s creation—read Genesis chapters one and two—the crown of creation is man and woman! Everything God brought into existence in the natural world He made for man as a stepping stone and ladder to heaven.

Therefore, we should love what God loves--- the salvation of souls! One immortal soul is worth more than the whole created universe!

The high point, apex, zenith of the spiritual life is manifested by the saints, but in a special way the martyrs. They imitated Jesus by dying and shedding their blood for love of Jesus.

A modern saint who died during the “Cristero” revolt in Mexico is Blessed Jose Luis Sanchez del Rios. The anti-Catholic government tried to force this mere teenager to renounce Christ the King. With a courage and energy that came from the Holy Spirit the mere boy cried out “Viva Cristo Rey!”   “Long live Christ the King!” He was tortured by knives slicing his feet, brutally bludgeoned with sticks, machetes and knives, but still he proclaimed loud and strong “Viva Cristo Rey!”  Finally he was shot in the head.  The boy-saints’ last gesture was to make the sign of the cross in the ground with his own blood!

The saints, the saints, the saints!  How glorious, magnificent, noble, heroic, courageous, faithful to their last breath. May God inspire you to become a great saint to proclaim the glory of God and to win a multitude of immortal souls to glorify the Blessed Trinity for all eternity!