Saturday, October 29, 2011

On Becoming Saints

Portion of All Saints,Tapestry from Los Angeles Cathedral

With All Saints’ Day rapidly approaching we might do well to remember that we are all called to sainthood!

Called to sainthood you say?  How could that be?  The saints had beatific visions, they did heroic deeds for the Faith; they emptied themselves of all carnal desires, many even martyred themselves.  How could I ever play in that league?

While it is true that Catholic tradition gives us a whole host of saintly role models for our spiritual journey, it is important to see the saints as just that—companions along the way!  If the true meaning of sainthood is to know God intimately, isn’t that a goal for which we can all strive?

How might we begin?

Well, it all starts with a conversation.  You wouldn’t begin a new friendship without a conversation, why then, would you begin a friendship with God without one?  We accomplish this conversation through prayer, not only talking to God but, listening to Him, being attentive to the workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives both in silence—that still, quiet voice inside of us—and also in the midst of our very busy lives.   When we pray, just like when we talk to a friend, we build a relationship—the most important relationship of our lives, the relationship with the One who made us.  Our path to sainthood must start here, for all good things flow from our getting to know Christ better.

Of course, really good friends almost always share a meal at some point!  So, too, with our God.  We are offered the greatest feast known to mankind when we attend Mass.  Frequent reception of the Eucharist strengthens us and gives us a glimpse of the intimate love of our Creator.  It, too, helps us to get to know Him better.  When we are confronted with this mystery that lies at the very heart of our Faith, we can’t possibly help but grow in love for Him just like the saints!

Once we truly know God, we cannot help but be transformed!  All our good works, all our kind words, all our strength to resist the temptation of sin, all our ability to make peace in our hearts, our families and our world—it all flows from this our deepest ,most intimate and crucial relationship.  We can’t do good if we don’t know the goodness that is Christ.  We can’t love fully unless we know the Lover that is Christ!  We simply cannot be saints unless we know Him.

We may not be called to give up our lives to serve the poor like St. Francis or to disappear to the “self” like St. Therese.  We may not cut off all our hair like St. Clare or lay down our life for the Faith like St. Isaac Jogues.  But, we are called to discover our own unique gifts and talents and, find ways to give them over to Christ.  It might be as simple as offering a smile when someone else’s is weak or making a choice to turn the other cheek when we are wronged.  Simple offerings that lead up to big love!  And, ultimately that is what the Saints had to offer…a tremendous love for Christ!

We all have the stuff of sainthood deep within us.  It’s hard wired into our DNA, the footprint of the Creator who is constantly calling us back to Him.  So, why not give it a try?  Begin your journey to sainthood at Catholic Peekskill!  You, and God, will be glad you did.

Mass Schedule for All Saints’ Day: 
Vigil               10/31 at 5:30 pm;
Actual Day:    11/1    at  6:45 am and 10:00 am (with school kids)  and, 7:30 pm (Spanish)