To be a Saint, first you must be yourself
When the legendary Bill Shankly retired as manager of Liverpool Football Club, Bob Paisley was appointed to succeed him. Realising that it was a hard act to follow, the soft-spoken, retiring Paisley at first refused the job. Finally after much persuasion, he agreed to accept it.
It truly was an onerous job to take over from someone who was as successful as Bill Shankly. Liverpool not only prided themselves on success on the football field, but on possessing a special approach off it. The manager, the players, the ladies who made the tea – all felt part of a great family. That was how the club was run.
Right from the outset there was enormous pressure on Paisley to ne another Bill Shankly. But he resisted the temptation. Instead, he brought his own style to the job. He managed to continue the traditions of the club, while remaining the unique individual he was. And he went on to become even more successful than Shankly. When he retired he was asked what the key to his success was. He replied , “There is no way you can imitate someone else and be great. You’ve got to be yourself.” Wise words.
Many religious people are not saints because they never succeed in being themselves. To be a saint one doesn’t have to be ascetic, or even serious and solemn. But one has to be oneself. Saints help us to do this, even the little ones. They cause the vision of a higher and purer life to rise up before us. They inspire us to try to win back our finer, kinder, and healthier selves. They are like a mirror so that we se what we could be. Whatever our path in life, what really matters is that we should be ourselves, our unique selves, but the best that we can be – the kind of people that God intended us to be.