Saints are not fairy tales, they are not made up characters, they are not from a different planet, they are simple people just like us. I essentially realized this when I saw photos of Saint John of Kronstadt. I found him so interesting and at the same time strange. How come you can see photos of a saint? You can see icons of a saint or you can see him painted on the walls of a church, but how can you see photos from the life of that saint?
In my mind, saints are people who lived a long time ago, hundreds of years ago, whose lives I can read in the synaxaria, far from being simple people. Imagine my surprise when I saw those photos from the life of Saint John of Kronstadt, when I saw that he was a simple man just like us, when I read about his life and learnt that he was ill as a child, that he was a weak student and he did not stand out in any way, it was only then that I realized that saints are common people.
What a man he was and what a saint he became! Sought after by tens of thousands of people just like people used to seek after the Saviour Christ. They would come to Saint John of Kronstadt just like they were going to a healing spring in order to receive healing, thousands and thousands of people would come every day to confess their sins, to receive advice, to receive Holy Communion and listen to his sermons.
Anyone can become a saint, someone who lives in a block or a taxi driver or a teacher or a beggar… I, too, can become a saint. But do I want to become one?
What if one day I put my mind to becoming a saint, to asking God to help me so that I commit no sins. First I would make a plan and then ask the Lord Christ all throughout the day to give me the strength to keep to my plan.
Even if I will make mistakes that day, I will ask for forgiveness and start over again. A Christian is not someone who doesn’t fall, but someone who gets back up. What is important is for me to realize that the Lord is by my side, in my fall as well as in my joy. What is important is for me to learn how to always relate to Him, to always ask for His advice and His help, to learn not to be selfish because I can do nothing without Him.
Being a saint doesn’t mean not to make mistakes, but to always see your own sins and try to abandon them because he who sees his own sins is greater than he who raises the dead.
What would it be like if we were saints for a day?
‘Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.’
Translated by Claudia