All Saints

Years ago I wrote a book on the lives of the saints honored in our church calendar. Saints like Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the apostles, the martyrs, founders of great religious orders, men and women recognized for their great holiness.

It was a hard book to write and I’ve never felt satisfied with it. My dissatisfaction isn’t just  from not capturing their lives as well as I would have liked. I think it’s because we can’t capture what the saints experience at all.

A saint is someone who enjoys a completed life, a life we haven’t seen yet, a life we hope for. “We feebly struggle while they in glory shine.” We can never capture the final steps of their story.

The letter of St. John we read today on the Feast of All Saints tells us that. We haven’t seen yet what God intends us to be. We haven’t completed our lives yet; we complete our lives when we join the company of the saints.

“See what love the Father has bestowed on us

that we may be called the children of God.

Yet so we are…

Beloved, we are God’s children now;

what we shall be has not yet been revealed.”

The saints we honor in our calendar led extraordinary lives; they were shining examples of faith, hope and love and changed the world they lived in.  What’s interesting about today’s feast of All Saints is its promise that they’re not the only ones in heaven. There are unnumbered saints in God’s company, saints who lived obscurely, without any sign of the extraordinary.

People like us.

I like St. Bernard’s advice about saint-watching in today’s Office of Readings:

“We must rise again with Christ, we must seek the world which is above and set our mind on the things of heaven. Let us long for those who are longing for us, hasten to those who are waiting for us, and ask those who look for our coming to intercede for us. We should not only want to be with the saints, we should also hope to possess their happiness. While we desire to be in their company, we must also earnestly seek to share in their glory. Do not imagine that there is anything harmful in such an ambition as this; there is no danger in setting our hearts on such glory.

When we commemorate the saints we are inflamed with another yearning: that Christ our life may also appear to us as he appeared to them and that we may one day share in his glory.”

4 thoughts on “All Saints

  1. informationforager

    Yes. I have just purchased this book a couple of weeks ago. My wife and I took a Northern Michigan fall colors trip and stopped by Indian River and visited “The Cross In The Woods”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross_in_the_Woods
    http://www.fishweb.com/maps/cheboygan/indianriver/shrine/index.html

    It was beautiful. I’m not Catholic but did visit the shop and saw this book. I’ve studied many different spiritual and religious teachings but had never delved into much of the Catholic Faith.

    When I saw this book it intrigued me highly because I didn’t know that there were so many Saints. I realized that I was woefully ignorant of the Saints and so I purchased the book. It explains many things that I didn’t know. Yes it’s not exhaustive and complete but it was perfect for me because then as I read about particular Saints I realized where to look further.
    I was very familier with Saint Thomas More and Joan of Arc. Thank for a well written book.

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  2. Gail Smyder

    How much hope we have when we think about all the unnumbered saints–our family and our friends who have gone before us and do intercede for us. St. Bernard says it all doesn’t he.
    Happy Feast day Father and again thanks for all your wisdom and hope as we journey toward heaven. I will have to look for your book of the saints. I love your writings for the children.

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  3. Gail Smyder

    Thinking again of your comment of dissatisfaction — I think your writing helps us keep longing for what they were so willing to die for. I can identify with St. Therese–the “little flower” who was so simple in her living and who struggled in her life and in her doubts, too. Her journey was never easy, but so full of trust. The lives of the martyrs are another story…………….

    A question for you. Are you familiar with Direction for Our Times and the writings of Anne?? Would value your input. On the 1st of the month there is always a message. The messages are down to earth, challenging and very hopeful.

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  4. Sarah Melici

    Hi Fr. Victor

    When You are up in my neck of the woods, and when you have time, please call me- 732-345-0573. Thanks. So good to see you at the Providence Clinic celebrations.

    Peace,

    Hi Fr.Victor

    When you have time and are in my neck of the woods, Please call me 732-345-0573
    Peace, Sarah

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