In the First Letter to the Thessalonians, St. Paul writes, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Pope Francis has offered us a lot of advice on how to be better Christians and people. He's also taken a hard look at some practices among the faithful that have long been accepted in different forms, but that are bad for spiritual health.
How does one become a Saint? Well, repentance is step one, of course, followed by faith in Jesus Christ, frequent participation in the Sacraments, and practice of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. But the many lists of 7 that the Church offers us to help on our path to Sainthood can be daunting, especially if we don't understand how to implement what they call for on a daily, human level. So why don't we take a small step back, and examine a few ways we can reshape our day-to-day practices by looking at the lives of the Saints.
In the Gospel, we hear something special from our Lord:
I have called you friends.
Jesus tells us in no uncertain terms that he does not call us slaves; he calls us his friends. He doesn't want to force his Word upon us or make us do things against our will. Like a true friend, he wants to work with us and inspire us to strive for holiness while walking with us along the way.