Celebrating the Saints

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of All Saints. The Entrance Antiphon for today’s Mass invites: “Let us all rejoice in the Lord, as we celebrate the feast day in honor of all the Saints, at whose festival teh Angels rejoice and praise the Son of God.

Why do we celebrate the saints?

Some of my non-Catholic friends mistakenly think Catholic put saints on a par with God or that we feel we need the saints to act as intermediaries between us and God. Neither is the case.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI once observed that “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.”

Each of those we call saints reflect God’s light in a certain way. And they all have something to teach us about discipleship. They give us examples that illuminate our paths.

The saints that I find most illuminating, the ones who sit front and center in my visualization of the communion of saints – Vincent de Paul, Ignatius of Loyola, Dorothy Day, Oscar Romero, Hildegard of Bingen, Francis of Assisi, John the Baptist – may not the ones who inspire you. And some who stand front and center for me have never been canonized by the Church.

Whoever they are – whoever the saints who inspire you by their compassion, their humility, their commitment to living out what they have discerned to be the path to which God has invited them – give thanks for them today. 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.

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