Reflecting on the Saints

Yesterday, the day on which the Catholic Church celebrated All Saints Day, I gave a mid-day reflection on the Saints. The focus of my talk was on what it means to call someone a saint and what the saints mean in our lives.

My talk addressed both “capital S” and “small S” saints – i.e., those who have been canonized by the Catholic Church and those holy men and women who have gone before us who, although not recognized as Saints, give allow us a “catch a glimpse of what God is like – and of what we are called to be” (in the words of Kenneth Woodward). I talked about saints as models of sin transcended, as helping us to understand how God works in the lives of individuals and as companions on our jouney, who have experienced many of the struggles we face.

I also talked about some of those who stand front and center in my visualization of the communion of the saints, sharing a little of my relationship with Francis of Assisi and Vincent de Paul.

After my talk, I invited the participants to take some time in silent reflection, calling to mind particular saints who have meaning to them, after which they shared with the group what those individuals meant to them.

You can stream the podcast of the talk I gave today from the icon below or can download it here. (The podcast runs for 20:42). You can find a copy of the prayer material I distributed for participants to pray with here.

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3 thoughts on “Reflecting on the Saints

  1. Susan a question if I may…

    Relating to the lives of the Saints requires leaving the security of our safe places, physically or spiritually, to appreciate their influence – the trails they blazed and the lives they lived continue to profoundly influence ours today.

    A life journey experienced off the beaten path allows more opportunity to “…catch a glimpse of what God is like -…” Smiles returned and eyes peered into during unexpected encounters are invitations to experience His love and grace more fully. There appears to be “small S” saint potential in all of His children and affirmation often the key unlocking moments of manifestation.

    Being a Catholic woman embraced, loved, considered family and welcomed at table during the past two Ramadans, is compelling. Opportunities to share faith journeys with the male heads of their extended Muslim family and community elders most surprising – discussions focused on the Trinity and the Holy Spirit most spirited – time allowed in conversation with their children, unbelievable. Sadness experienced during shared moments when their adherence to doctrine and dictate smothers their potential to love more fully – silent prayers offered when their increased frustration (anger) percolates below the surface due to injustice (real and perceived) .

    Is your inter-faith discussion on the 8th open to the public and may the forum offer additional insight beneficial to furthering my inter-faith relationship with my adopted faith families?

    I pray my constant banter is not overwhelming. Your reflections and thoughts appear as opportunities to experience (and respond) to Life in the Spirit each morning – truly a Blessing…

  2. Yes, the program on the 8th is open to everyone. Although the focus is pilgimage in the three traditions, I think you would find it a good experience. If you scroll down on this link, you’ll find more information about both this event and some others you might find of interest:http://www.stthomas.edu/jpc/events/default.html.

    And always happy to have your comments. I am grateful that you find them beneficial.

    Blessings, Susan

  3. Susan – Thank you!!!

    The presentation on the 8th and the three part presentation beginning the next evening are most compelling. Both appear as perfect opportunities to listen and expand my faith and knowledge of theirs – and refreshing evening breaks from my design and writing projects.

    Thanks and Blessings to You, Christine

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