By Anne Louise Mahoney, Managing Editor, Novalis
… when there breaks a yet more glorious day;
the saints triumphant rise in bright array;
the King of glory passes on His way.
From the hymn “For All the Saints,”
text by William Walsham How (1864)
The saints can be kind of intimidating. They’re so… saintly and perfect! Or are they? St. Jerome was known to be impatient and difficult. St. Augustine struggled with chastity as a young man. St. Teresa of Calcutta felt abandoned by God in her later life. But they and all the saints the church has recognized over the centuries have two things in common: they were ordinary humans (and therefore imperfect), and they strove to dedicate their lives to God.
I’m sure they felt overwhelmed at times. Holiness was not an easy path to choose. And yet they persevered, and we still remember them today and call on them for strength and assistance.
Like the “official” saints of the church, we ordinary humans are called to dedicate our lives to God – to strive for holiness in all we do. In other words, we are called to be saints. Although we may never be canonized by the Church, we can join the communion of saints – that great assembly of faithful Christians in heaven and on earth, of all times and places.
“Never cease to ask yourselves what the Lord is calling you to do, and how you can help Him… This is what the saints have always done, spreading the light of the Lord… and transforming the world into a welcoming home for everyone.”—Pope Benedict XVI
So how can you celebrate this holy day, the Feast of All Saints? Here are some ideas:
- Read up on the saint you or your parish is named for. Tell someone three things you’ve learned.
- Pray to your favourite saint.
- Find out more about one of our Canadian saints, such as St. Jean de Brébeuf, St. François de Laval, St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, St. Brother André or St. Kateri Tekakwitha.
- Think about ways that you can strive for holiness each day. Try one today.
- Pray one of the many versions of the Litany of the Saints. Here’s one to get you started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY16_W4SjUQ. (Feel free to sing along with the refrains.)
All you holy men and women, pray for us!