If your goal is to become a saint, what’s your plan?

Is it just some vague commitment to be a good person and to follow the Commandments?

If that’s the case, good luck! Satan will keep your seat warm for ya.


“Aim small. Miss small. “

Try this: Pick one virtue and try your darndest at perfecting it. If you focus on one virtue, it’s a lot easier to track your progress and really center your attention and energy on one goal. Make it the center of your life. Remind yourself of it in the morning, evening, in the middle of the day. Assess yourself at the end of the day and see how well you did. Think of ways you can improve it. Write them down, if that helps. Reward yourself if you’ve done well. Make it a contest, make it competitive, make it your number one goal.

“Not all of us are expected to die a martyr’s death, but we are called to the pursuit of Christian virtue. This demands strength of character. A constant, persistent, and relentless effort is asked of us right up to the moment of our death.” ~ Pope Pius XII

If we look at the saints, typically one virtue sticks out as one they really exemplified.

St. Therese of the Child Jesus — known for her simplicity

St. Francis of Assisi — known for his humility

St. Isaac Jogues — known for his courage

If you capture one virtue, the rest will follow. If you try to attain all virtues at once, you’ll be overwhelmed and demoralized at how often you fail.


If an athlete is trying to improve his performance, what do they do? They sit down with their coach or trainer, assess their play, identify their weaknesses, and work on them.

If a business is trying to increase their production, what do they do? They sit down with their partner or partners, assess their business, maybe talk to employees about what can be better, and work on it.

And do we do that on a spiritual level? We do it in our careers, our businesses, but do we do it in what’s most important?

We need to perform frequent assessments of ourselves. That’s part of what confession is! You, sitting down with yourself, examining yourself, consulting with Christ through the priest, seeing your faults, and developing a gameplan to get better at it.

“The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works.” ~ St. Augustine

But how good would a player be if he only worked on himself once a month, only really examined his play once in a while, or how good would a business be if they only bothered checking their numbers every month or so? They would be promptly cut from the team and the business would be filing for bankruptcy.

Frequent confession is vital to a thriving spiritual life. And not just in confession should we examine ourselves. We need to make a persistent, thorough assessment of ourselves each and every day, a consistent examination of conscience, a mini confession, every night.


During these examinations, it’s a great time to review how we grew in our virtue. Did we fall further into its vice or climb another step on the ladder? Set goals, so that way you have something to assess. It’s not enough to just pray, before crashing on our bed, “I could have done better, love you, Jesus. Uh, good night.”

“Work hard every day at increasing your purity of heart, which consists in appraising things and weighing them in balance of God’s will.” ~ St. Francis de Sales

Actions speak louder. Focus on it. Pick a virtue to really work on for a couple months. Make little tasks each day. If you’re practicing charity, go out of your way once a day to do something for someone. If you’re practicing temperance, skip a meal, or if that’s too hard, skip a desert!

Get others involved, too. Your spouse, your kids, etc. Make it a family mission, a familial journey. By encouraging others and witnessing the success of your family, it will strengthen your own motivation and inspire more effort.


Here’s a little refresher in case it’s been a while since you’ve been in a religious class. Try to identify one that you’re weak in and that you really want to perfect, and go at it!

We won’t become saints overnight. It’s a long, tough journey, but you have to start somewhere; otherwise you risk getting nowhere.

Start small. Give yourself realistic, attainable goals. Take one consistent step at a time. You’ll slowly become a better lover of God and, through God’s grace, a saint.

“I am not capable of doing big things, but I want to do everything, even the smallest things, for the greater glory of God.” ~ St. Dominic Savio