According to British author Oscar Wilde, “the only difference between saints and sinners is that every saint has a past while every sinner has a future.”
As stewards, we all are sinners, and we all have a future. We are called by God to strive to become saints, and we can only reach that distinction by our freewill actions and our love of God and neighbor.
When we don’t strive to be saints and have not lived up to our full potential, we can become severely distraught, and find ourselves in need of serious redemption. This theme is portrayed in the famous novel by Graham Greene titled The Power and the Glory.
In the book, set in a poor remote section of southern Mexico, the Red Shirts have taken control. God and the Catholic Church have been outlawed, and the priests have been systematically hunted down and killed. Now, the last remaining priest strives to overcome physical and moral cowardice in order to find redemption.
Called the “whisky priest” because of his love of a good drink, he feels that his hunt and eventual capture are the stuff of which martyrs are made of, but he knows deep down that he doesn’t measure up to the great saints. He feels an immense sense of disappointment because he would have to go to God empty-handed. At that moment, he realizes it would have been quite easy to be a saint — he would only have needed some self-restraint and a little courage.
The message for us is loud and clear: if we don’t strive to be a saint, we will regret it and feel our existence has been wasted. At the end of our time on Earth, we will want to know we did everything possible to be the best versions of ourselves and to be what God calls us to be. Making daily choices to be a disciple and to follow God’s will are steps toward reaching our goal. Live as a steward, and you won’t go to God empty-handed.