The “Be a Saint” conference keynoted by Dr. Peter Kreeft was my first Serviam Ministries’ (formerly Catholic Chapter House) event and I was privileged to be in town at the same time so that I was able to attend it. I thank Catholic Chapter House for inviting a prolific author whose books played a significant part in my spiritual growth (he was mandatory reading in high school) and hopefully igniting a spark in Toronto so that the Word may be spread like wildfire. The early prophets arrived in towns uninvited but here was our own very prophet at the behest of enthusiastic Catholics willing to heed a renewed call to battle in our spiritual war. Dr. Kreeft is a self-proclaimed “mediocrity” but it’s his authenticity and openness to the Lord’s will that he allows the Holy Spirit to give him ingenious insight to deliver substantial messages in small edible sentences.
What stuck out the most for me was the insight into the Enemy’s battle plans, views of the Church and our role that can deceptively steer us from being saints:
Politicization of the Faith – loving ideology to change humanity while neglecting to help and love our immediate neighbour.
Happy talk – de-emphasizing the more difficult aspects of our faith and our spiritual battles and dwelling only on the successes or relegating God’s love to feel-good sappiness.
Organizationalism – viewing the Church as a business rather than the living Body of Christ such that we are driven towards success rather than sanctity.
Newness-worship – prioritizing innovation over tradition, at worst dismissing things that are
“pre-Vatican II” altogether (even if that means dismissing Christ and the Universe, which both happened well before the 1960’s).
Equality-worship – being blind to essential differences between genders so as to distort how we cooperate with each other in the world – to the point of perverting the definitions of Ordination and Marriage.
Yuppiedom – giving into a life of comfort so as to avoid opportunities to show courage in living out our lives
Spiritualism – avoiding the essentials of the physicality of our Faith – to turn us into Gnostics or pantheists such that the object or our worship is nebulous, like the Devil himself, who is only spirit as opposed to the Incarnate Lord.
The acronym PHONEYS is the seven-part temptation that I even find myself easily susceptible to, whenever viewing my life or the work I do for the Faith in secular terms. I appreciated the reminder of how to push back on these tendencies – to be a Saint – to have an authentic life totally handed over to the Lord, letting Him do His will rather than for me to do my own of my accord. Every choice we have is one over the other, a choice between joy and misery, a choice to go after the infinite fulfillment of our desires, or to pull back into our humdrum politically-correct world.
It was encouraging to sit in a room full of hundreds of other potential saints, eager to push forward in Spiritual Battle. Seeing what just one man can enable in a room, I wonder what could happen if each one of us hundreds could turn outwardly and shine just as brilliantly as he did.