Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All Saints’ Day: All You Holy Men and Women, Pray for Us

One of the many things I love about the Catholic Church is that we learn about and venerate the men and women throughout history who have said yes to living out God’s will for their lives, and have thereby become sanctified and holy.  The first and foremost among all saints is the Blessed Mother Mary who said “let it be done unto me” to everything God asked of her throughout her life.  She is certainly the “Queen of all Saints.”   
The communion of saints is very diverse when it comes to their life circumstances, vocations, and expressions of faith, yet a common thread links them all together: they put the Lord first in their lives and served those in need as though they were taking care of Jesus Christ Himself.     I’ve read a lot about the saints over the years.  Kevin and I read about the saints for each day from a book I reviewed a while back aptly named Saint of the Day.  What an eclectic and sometimes eccentric bunch some of them were!  They said and did some remarkable things as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit to bring others closer to the Lord.  Some of the stories are actually quite gruesome and bizarre (usually the martyrs).  Others are so inspiring, like that of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Blessed Pope John Paul II, that they are known throughout the world. 

A few of my favorite saints are: St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Avila, and Blessed Mother Teresa.  When we had the opportunity to help come up with possible names for our youngest sibling, I suggested the name Theresa because of St. Thérèse the little flower, Blessed Mother Teresa, and a childhood friend with the name who I remember being very brave.  (Yesterday was my youngest sister Theresa’s 20th birthday.)    

Not long ago, our parish priest did a one man play on “Damien.”  I’d read about this saint who had worked with lepers, but not until seeing the performance Fr. Dan Brady put on, did I realize the depth of suffering and sacrifice St. Damien of Molokai had undergone willingly in order to serve the sick and dying quarantined to an island that was hell on earth. 

Another priest who underwent tremendous suffering and persevered in order to serve the Lord is the late Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan.  I have a strong feeling that this man will someday be proclaimed a saint.  To find out why, check out his book The Road of Hope: A Gospel from Prison and the Road of Hope DVD made about his life.

Those of us who had the special blessing of meeting music missionary Danielle Rose when she came to Richmond in September 2011 witnessed the Lord Jesus Christ shining through her gentle, loving spirit quite beautifully. 
All of us are called to be holy.  Each one of us is called to be a saint, but as Danielle Rose shares in her latest song “The Saint That Is Just Me” God isn’t interested in you becoming someone else so you are sanctified and more Christ-like.  He wants most for you to become the saint He’s created you to be. 
Lord, thank You for the gift of so many holy men and women to show us how to love You and one another.  Help us listen to Your still small voice in the silence, so that we may, indeed, become the saints You have called each of us to be.  Amen. 
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