Today the Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of All Saints, a day on which we honor all of the saints who have gone before us.
Some of my friends who are not Catholic are uncomfortable with saints, a discomfort that often stems from the mistaken fear that Catholics put saints on a par with God, or a nervousness that Catholics feel that they need the saints to occupy a place between them and God. Neither is the case. Catholic neither worship saints nor believe they need them to speak to God on their behalf.
Rather, saints give us examples that illuminate our paths. In words Pope Benedict XVI once used, “the saints bring to light in creative fashion quite new human potentialities” and are “Christian constellations, in which the richness of God’s goodness is reflected.” They show us something of what it means to be disciples of Christ, the hands and feet of God.
On this day of celebration of the saints, I give thanks both for the “big league” saints who sit front and center in my visualization of the communion of saints (the likes of Vincent de Paul, Ignatius of Loyola, Francis of Assisi, John the Baptist), and for the “lesser” saints, those who have simply lived the life God asked them to live. Those who by their simplicity and their humility inspire me in both thought and deed.
Who do you give thanks for this day? Spend some time in your silent prayer giving thanks for those who have gone before you, for those who inspire you in a special way.