Solemnity of All Saints (Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14/Psalm 24:1bc-2, 3-4ab, 5-6/1 John 3:1-3/Matthew 5:1-12a)
“Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?” If I want to understand and remain faithful to the true meaning of this feast, I have to answer to this question; otherwise, it will be easy to disconnect it from the rest of the Liturgical Calendar and my Adventure of Faith, my life. What we celebrate as a Church is that true Christian life is possible to live! And we have thousands and thousands of witnesses to prove it!
It’s easy to misunderstand this solemnity: we tend to look at the Saints in our churches as men and women with the Halo on their heads and we tell stories of their heroic virtues and supernatural deeds. How easy it is to think that is impossible for me to see myself as (potentially) one of them. Forgetting they are “of this world” and they made it: their earthly passions were real, their struggles were real, their victory is real, too.I remember when I heard the story of St Francis making a deal with the wolf of Gubbio. I could not even manage to get my cat respond to my commands, how could I be like Francis and talk to wolves…. I am glad I didn’t give up and continue my Journey.
I got to keep this in mind. I cannot look at them only in their final stage but also, and especially, consider them as a whole person. Then, I can even entertain the idea that I am called to the same life. And, by God’s grace, I can make it, too.
What does it mean to be “Saint?” I think about the meaning and development of this idea. God was the only one who was called “Saint,” that is, “Other,” “Separated from…” God was/is so entirely different than us. But by calling His own people, God began to share His “otherness” with them, asking them to be “other”, to be a saintly people. He gave them some means (the Law) to demonstrate daily, in their concrete lives and worship, a different way of living. Eventually, they were called to focus on their “interior otherness” as well and a new understanding of Sainthood began to develop: we can only participate in God’s sainthood and we cannot become saints on our own. Yet, this participation was still incomplete and for centuries, the God’s people yearned for another way.
In Christ, God’s Sainthood is shared fully. This idea was so strong in the early Christians that they called each other Saints and called the Church “a communion of Saints.” This sainthood was expressed in a particular way in the Eucharist where Saints participate to a saintly reality.
Now I get it: to be a saint is to participate in God’s life through the means that God Himself has given us through the Church, especially the Sacraments. It is not the fruit of my effort but a gift that comes from the Love that God has for me. Sainthood is my response to His Love.
Now I also understand why Sainthood is associated with the Beatitudes. It’s an invitation to live a life of happiness, of blessedness, a life fully realized. It’s to live God’s own life. I long for this life and I know deep within me that I was made for this.
I can be a saint today; we can be saints today. It is still possible because God continues to make it possible. As matter of fact, now more than ever, the world longs for happiness, for true meaning. Now more than ever the message of the Good News needs to be proclaimed. With such a hunger for happiness, I can see the great potential of a new generation of saints.
I must recommit myself to this life and i must do whatever I can to help people understand that in God they can all find all they long for.
I can almost see new saints marching in….