All Saints Day 2018

 

     Today’s feast of all saints day is an invitation for us to step back from the present to ponder the future. As we gather to celebrate all of the saints, those canonized and those known to God alone, we are invited to stop and realize that God has forged a path for our future; the path of sainthood.

     At our baptism each one of us was claimed by Christ. We were adopted as sons and daughters of God and set on a path towards sainthood. The whole purpose of our life is to become a saint, which is to say to live with God for eternity. Often though when we hear this call to sainthood, we pause and think that could never be us. When we hear of saints we think of the great martyrs who died as a witness to the faith, or men and women who performed miracles or lived the beatitudes we heard in today’s reading to the extreme and we easily think that there is no way that we can become a saint. I think all of us would agree that sainthood is a noble ambition, but I think many of us must honestly ask ourselves if it is something that we can realistically attain.

     Well the answer is yes! There is no reason why each and every one of us here, with some hard work, can become saints, but after all doesn’t anything worthwhile require hard work? All of the saints were all human like you and I. They had their strengths and weakness. They were all sinners, but they refused to settle for the mediocrity of sin and at one point in their life came to realize the purpose of life was to become a saint. After all “our first step to sanctity is realizing that nothing in life is worth so much as our becoming saints.”[1]

     Becoming a saint doesn’t mean that we have to shut ourselves off in a monastery for the rest of our lives or necessarily live as a priest or religious sister. No God made each and everyone one of us good and with the intention that we become saints. All we have to do to become a saint is become who God intends us to be. You and I already have the potential to be saints. We must simply live the call to be blessed by following the blueprint God Himself has laid out for us in the beatitudes that we just heard in the Gospel.

     If we think that the saints were perfect people who had everything together, then perhaps we need to be reminded of our history. The history of the saints is one of great sinners who came to recognize their call to sainthood. It is a history of saints who clung to the Church, not because they had everything figured out, but because they knew they needed to be saved, after all as the popular phrase reminds us “the Church is not a museum for saints, but rather a field hospital for sinners.” St. Peter denied Jesus and went on to become the first pope, St. Augustine had a child out of wedlock and believed in a weird heretical sect that believed in a cosmic battle between good and evil before eventually becoming one of the greatest teachers of the Catholic Faith. St. Vladimir, living around the year 1,000 had indulged in human sacrifice early in his life, and I could go on for hours naming sinners who became saints.

     Friends the saints are closer to us than we may realize. They struggled with sin and temptation, they walked the path of holiness, sometimes stumbling, but always getting back up and moving on, resolving to do better, to be better version of themselves. All of us have our weaknesses and struggles but the saints remind us that we are called to conversion to work with God’s grace to become the best version of ourselves.

     The saints were born human just like every other person to walk this earth. They were raised to sainthood because they worked to be what today’s gospel reading is calling us to be: to be poor in spirit, to be meek, to be merciful, to make peace, for this is how we begin to become what Jesus called “blessed,” and what the Church calls saints. God calls all people to become saints, He calls you to sainthood. Today He challenges you to continue down that lifelong path of sainthood remembering “there is no saint without a past, no sinner without a future.”[2]

 

[1] Albert Joseph Mary Shamon. Three Steps to Sanctity. Oak Lawn: CMJ Marian Publishers and Distributers (1993) pg. 1

[2] Attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo

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