Saints Who Wear Jeans and Sneakers

by Niño Molina

I had been reading articles regarding the coming canonization of Pedro Calungsod, and there was one article which kind of disappointed me. In it, I read that Pedro Calungsod’s image was modeled after a basketball player. What disappointed me was that some people find it “uncomfortable” to pray before an image of a basketball player. It seems like these people are not yet ready for the new generation of Saints, or do not really know what Sainthood is about!

I would not be surprised that if Pedro Calungsod lived today, he would probably a member of his campus’ basketball varsity team! Besides being a good athlete, he would need to maintain good grades to remain in the team. His contemporaries say that Pedro was an athletic and bright young man.

Fortunately, there are no pious legends about Pedro Calungsod. There are no records of him receiving visions from the Blessed Mother, levitations, stigmatas, and transverbations. We do not hear of him performing heavy ascetical practices such as self-flagellation and severe fasting. His martyrdom is also presented in a realistic manner, unlike those of the martyrs in the Early Church. Accounts do not say that Pedro had a sad or serious disposition, rather it was said that he was a ‘bisaya,’ which means a ‘happy man’ or a ‘man of fine and pleasant disposition.’ As Saint Teresa of Avila once prayed, “God save us from gloomy saints!”

If Pedro was our next-door neighbor or a classmate, we would never think that he would become a Saint. The only reason why we see him differently, with a “holy aura,” is because he lived centuries away from us! He seems so old-fashioned for us, but in reality, he is a man of his times!

This is Pedro’s message to us. We need to become Saints of our times. Look around today’s society: see the fight for life, poverty, scandals, and other issues. What is God calling us to do in our time? In our place? Pedro lived in a time when the Church was literally going around the world to preach the Gospel, and he responded to God’s call.

I am very proud to be a part of this generation. As part of the World Youth Day Generation, I belong to a generation of Saints! Yes, with a capital “S”! And as a young Filipino in the 2010′s, I am among the students and young professionals currently helping the Philippines to prosper!

To end this blog, I would like to share a poem I read, which was inspired by Pope John Paul II who called on the youth to become Saints. The title of the poem is “We Need Saints”:

We need saints without veil or cassock.
We need saints who wear jeans and sneakers.
We need saints who go to the movies, listen to music and hang out with friends.
We need saints who put God in first place, but who let go of their power.
We need saints who have time everyday to pray and who know how to date in purity and chastity, or who consecrate their chastity.
We need modern saints, Saints of the 21st century with a spirituality that is part of our time.
We need saints committed to the poor and the necessary social changes.
We need saints who live in the world and who are sanctified in the world, who are not afraid to live in the world.
We need saints who drink Coke and eat hot dogs, who wear jeans, who are Internet-savvy, who listen to CDs.
We need saints who passionately love the Eucharist and who are not ashamed to drink a soda or eat pizza on weekends with friends.
We need saints who like movies, the theater, music, dance, sports.
We need saints who are social, open, normal, friendly, happy and who are good companions.
We need saints who are in the world and know how to taste the pure and nice things of the world but who aren’t of the world.

About the blogger

Niño Molina is a 21-year-old young professional. He wants to do many things for God, the Church, and the world. But being “cloistered” in the corporate world, he strives his best to “stand firm in the faith and do all his works in love.”