On November 1, the Solemnity of All Saints, we honor the men and women recognized by the Church’s normal process of canonization as well as all saints whose faith is known to God and whose courage truthfulness and piety may not yet be known to the world; on this day they all will be recognized by God and acknowledged in our hearts. These are saints whose lives are the example of living Christianity and extraordinary virtue we believe that upon their deaths they have entered the kingdom of heaven.
So what is a clear description of a saint? A saint is someone who loves, one who tries all the time to show love to others, even those who they don’t like, maybe even considered their enemy, essentially reaching out to show generous behavior to everyone. They are the excellent role models teaching others to live their lives in goodness; they act as channels of God’s power, and they are intercessors.
Pope Benedict referred to a saint as an example of holiness that we can follow with confidence. He added they are someone whose life we can learn from showing us by example what God is truly like. He tells us to avoid the temptation of confusing celebrities or stars that we read about in the media as examples of saints.
Nevertheless, you may know someone who fits these qualifications of sainthood. I myself feel I have known a couple of people in my family who I believe truly are saints. I say this because as Catholics and Christians we are all called to be saints. The church shows us many examples throughout the year of saints recognized to have lived a life of holiness: St. Juan Diego, St Cecelia, St Andrew the Apostle, St Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Catharine of Siena; the list goes on and on. When we are baptized we too are called to be saints. We are to be the Christian example for others to follow. After reading this, you may be saying to yourself, “What? Me, a saint! Hardly!”
How can sinners become saints? When the Bishops examine the life of someone they are considering for canonization, they do acknowledge that everyone has sinned (except the Virgin Mary.) However they question whether this person achieved the virtues of faith, hope and charity as well as prudence, justice and fortitude during their lives. They look at the person’s ability to overcome sinful choices and tendencies. We all fall now and then, but how we get back up is telling for sure.
Let’s look at St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta as an example. She left the convent for the sole purpose of living among the poor. In her words, she would leave the life with the Sisters of Loreto to “follow Christ into the slums to serve him among the poorest of the poor.” She took a nursing course for several months. She opened a school for poor children. Her work was exhausting but eventually she had volunteers willing to join her and she started the Missionaries of Charity. She worked tirelessly for the remainder of her life so others would see the face of Jesus in the poorest of the poor. She was the example that we as Christians aspire to be. She was canonized by Pope Francis on September 4, 2015.
As we pray during the month of November remembering those souls who have departed before us, we should all think of adding a prayer to make all souls “saint” ready. This should be our goal for the month of November, because when we leave this world hopefully our example of our lives will allow us to be considered by God to be his faithful saint.
Copyright 2017 Catherine Baugh