Despite desiring to follow Jesus Christ or even being received into the Catholic Church through the Sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation, every man faces great challenges to become a Saint. By his own efforts, no man can reach the perfection of Sainthood due to his desire for sin, the constant attacks of Satan, the infinite gap between a man and sainthood, and the extreme difficulty of consistently seeking to ascend towards Sainthood day by day over a life time; no man can become a Saint by himself.
Every man is highly vulnerable to Sin
Whether a man is prepared to admit it or not, he is stained by Original Sin and is permanently handicapped due to the lingering effects of Original Sin to desire to do sinful things. Every man who understands sin and holds himself accountable for his thoughts and behaviors comes to realize he is unavoidably vulnerable to sin. No man can forgive and cleanse himself of sin and those men who lack the saving help of the Sacraments are even more vulnerable to falling deeper into sin.
Man is stained by Original Sin
Because of the Sin of Adam, every man is born into Original Sin (CCC 396-406) which has stained him but also handicapped him by his selfish desire for pleasure and the tendency to pursue evil means to fulfill his desires.
Man has a desire for sinful things
Even after becoming an adopted son of God through the Sacrament of Baptism and strengthened in the Sacrament of Confirmation, a Catholic man remains in the world, prone to sin due to the lingering effect of Original Sin which is called Concupiscence (CCC 377, 418, 2515), the sinful longing for the various types of venial and mortal sins which separate a man from God.
Avoiding sin is extremely difficult
No man on his own power can conquer all of the perverse desires he has for sin and the impact of sin in his life (CCC 1853), including the obvious sins a man willfully chooses to commit (Sins of Commission) but also the grave sins of failing to take many holy acts consistently over his entire life to serve God and neighbor (Sins of Omission); there is a great gravity of mortal and venial sin (CCC 1854-1864) which leads a man to commit even more sin (CCC 1865-1869).
A man cannot forgive his own sins
No man has the ability to forgive himself (CCC 1441-1442) and thus, once he falls into sin even once, he remains in sin forever unless there is another way to be forgiven of sin (there is!).
Men who lack the Sacraments are more vulnerable to sin
The Sacraments are necessary helps on the path to salvation (CCC 1129) that Jesus Christ (CCC 1114-1116, 1210) has deliberately given men so they can avoid falling into sin (CCC 1393, 1395, 1446, 1458); men who lack any of the Sacraments consistent with his vocation are at a disadvantage and more vulnerable in his battle against sin.
Every man is constantly tempted to sin by Satan
Despite the foolish modern view that the “devil” is a myth or attractive in some way, the reality is that Satan is a supernatural entity who has extensive supernatural powers and evil intent who hates God and constantly seeks to attack every man and lure him to his eternal death and agony.
Satan has supernatural power
Satan has supernatural power, for he is a fallen angel of God (CCC 391), and like all angels has superior intellect and powers to men (CCC 330, 395).
Satan constantly attacks men
Satan boldly rebelled against God (CCC 391-393) and attacks the Son of God in the Temptation (CCC 394, 538, 2119); Satan aggressively targets every man (CCC 395, 2852), especially those who are committed to Christ.
Satan and his demons are constantly seeking to tempt and corrupt every man (CCC 2851) in many subtle, and sometimes not so subtle ways (demonic possession, CCC 1673), using the modern foolishness of denying his existence as cover to disguise his attacks.
Fanning the flames of a man’s latent or active sinful desires, Satan and his demons seek to tempt a man at every turn, presenting to the man many opportunities to sin and corrupting a man’s thoughts to lure him into mortal sin and death, ultimately with the goal of lording over the man’s soul in the agony of Hell.
Satan relentlessly attacks men and tempts them to sin in seven key ways
Satan has the supernatural and mysterious insight into the thoughts and acts of every man and constantly seeks to corrupt the souls of men, using a variety of ancient techniques which have been effective in tempting men to fall into sin throughout the ages. Satan and his demons:
- Sow division between God and man, between man and woman, and by promoting all sorts of divisions among men (sex, religion, race, politics, ideologies, nation, class, etc.); those men who fall into divisions are vulnerable to hate and isolated men become easier for Satan to attack.
- Incite rebellion and chaos by undermining authority, sowing disorder through the perversion of culture, and creating chaos, rebellion and conflict among men; men who fall into rebellion become jaded and vulnerable to wrath and the temptation to attack others and engage in perverse acts.
- Encourage lukewarmness and apostasy by continually tempting a man into laxity and seeking to stigmatize faith through scandal and mobilizing the modern culture and “science” to discredit faith; the more shaky a man becomes in his faith and the more he believes the lies of the modern culture, the more likely he is to turn away from God and disregard the teachings of Christ’s Holy Catholic Church and fall into deeper and deeper sin.
- Promote ignorance, heresy and distraction by seeking to discourage the study of the faith, promoting heresy within the Church, and by distracting men by the supposed hypocrisy in those of faith; the more ignorant a man is of the truths of the Church or the more focused a man is on the sinners who make up the Church, the less likely he is to be motivated to grow in truth and holiness and the more likely to seek to undermine the Church.
- Tempt into sinfulness and suffering by constantly luring a man into taking sinful actions, including breaking of The 10 Commandments and growing in vice; the more Satan can lure a man into taking small steps upon the slippery slope of sin, the more likely Satan will be able to convince him to greater and more frequent sin.
- Lure into Materialism by persuading men that happiness cannot be found in God or even relationships, but that happiness is found in material possessions; the more Satan can get a man to focus on material comforts and seeking to acquire material things to find happiness, the less a man will look to his true happiness in God.
- Draw into Worldliness by convincing a man that the world is all that matters and that the moral life and eternal life are not important or reasonable; the more Satan can convince a man that he is simply a piece of thinking meat, the less likely a man will be open to considering the reality of his spiritual life and eternal destiny and the more likely the man will fall into hopelessness and begin to justify increasing acts of evil and depravity.
Every man must realize that achieving the perfection of Sainthood is nearly impossible
While many, many men are seduced into believing the lie that they are “not so bad” or a “pretty good man”, the reality is that being “not so bad” or the mediocrity of being a “pretty good man” is nowhere near the perfection of holiness which God demands of saints, an impossible standard for even the most motivated of men to attempt to achieve on their own.
Jesus commands that men be perfect
Jesus commands men, “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). Any thinking man must come to grips with the reality that the perfection of love that Christ is commanding men to achieve is beyond his reach by his own efforts.
Perfection is an impossible standard for men
Perfection requires a man to not only stop mortal sin, but every venial sin, every day for the rest of his life. Perfection requires perfectly keeping The 10 Commandments which includes never willingly entertaining a sinful thought. Christ’s call to perfection requires that a man sacrifice every selfish desire and give himself completely to serve Jesus Christ and His Holy Catholic Church, and to love his neighbor as himself.
Perfection is only achieved by Saints
Jesus reveals that the path to Sainthood is extremely difficult and few can achieve it (Mt 7:13-14).
Some rare souls reach the perfection of Sainthood while still on earth and are immediately received into Heaven upon their deaths. In the long history of the Catholic Church, only some 10,000 souls of the billions of Catholics who have lived have been officially recognized as Saints; the Church has a rigorous and difficult process to examine a soul’s cause for Sainthood that includes indisputable proof of their holiness and heroic virtue, and hard evidence that God performed at least two miracles through the Saint, supernatural acts which confirm their holiness.